Council says space works for youth

A DISAPPOINTING crowd at the Southern Downs Regional Council's new youth space last Friday night have locals questioning not only the space but the town participation in its own events.

Performers entertained a total crowd of about 40 people at any one point during the night, which has left event organisers wondering where Warwick's population is hiding.

The council's youth development officer Hailey Cosh said the early start may have been the cause.

"It's a starting point for the space," she said.

"We received good feedback from the people that were there."

Miss Cosh and community development officer Pam Burley affirm that there is no missing link between the council and the youth of Warwick, despite the program beginning more than eight years ago.

Mrs Burley said the council had consulted young people during the development of the space by using the Young Leaders (formerly Youth Ambassadors and Young Delegates).

"The young leaders have historically been a broad cross-section of the younger community; we engaged with young people through the whole process," she said.

"It's an appropriate space for young people; very youth specific space.

"Good for informal jam sessions."

Despite this, many teenagers walking past the sight had no idea the space was one to call their own.

Many were confused over the need for another entertainment area.

"Don't we have one over there already?" Katie Allen, 18, said, gesturing to the rotunda.

Others said they had never heard of last week's event despite its extensive advertising.

The lack of a crowd was not the only worry locals have regarding the new youth space.

Its design is under scrutiny by members of the local community.

Due to its position, facing Albert St, the stage cannot be used for a large audience. Mrs Burley said this was due to the space being made specifically for teens.

"It was about balancing design and intimacy," she said.

"The community doesn't question a child's playground or a senior centre.

"Why is it different for the youth space?"

Mrs Burley and Miss Cosh say the space is open to aspiring musicians who want to use the facility.

"Bring your own crowd," they said.

"It's an informal space for you to use however you like."

Moonfire Inspirations event planner Donna Page also questions what it takes to rouse people of any age in Warwick.

"I live across the road from the event and it was disappointing to see," she said.

"I have found the Warwick attitude is they want events but when they are put on, no one shows up."

Ms Page sighted many events which had also suffered the same fate including the David De Vito concert held in the Warwick Town Hall last year.

"People from Warwick specifically asked for him to visit," she said.

"The concert wasn't expensive."

Only 200 tickets were sold for the event despite seating for up to 400.

"All these events are well advertised and at reasonable prices," she said.

The Warwick Gymnastics Club New Year's masquerade ball also had to be called off due to lack of sales.

"Smaller towns don't seem to have the problem," Ms Page said. "Killarney and Allora always have plenty of people at their events."

Timeline

2005-2006: youth space was included in the council's youth action plan. Youth ambassadors helped cultivate the council's future direction.

2006-2007: operational level technical services and the engineering department began work on the plans. Youth consultation undertaken and headed by youth worker and young ambassadors.

2009-2010: youth space idea changed from building to outdoor facility due to practicality and funding reasons. Youth consultation continues.

2013: the youth space was finished.

February 2014: the youth space was opened.



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