Youth put leaders in the hot seat
· Liverpool Street University launches ‘Backchat’ forum to engage youth in community issues
· First forum with NSW Treasurer Michael Baird – Friday, 27 September 2pm
Friday 27 September, 2013: Leading youth services provider The Ted Noffs Foundation today launched Backchat, a free forum where Western Sydney youth will have the unique opportunity to hear, learn and challenge politicians, community members and industry experts.
According to the 2011 Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Census, Liverpool City has a significantly higher proportion of young people than the NSW average. In 2011, there were 34,566 young people living in the Liverpool area, which represents nearly one in five people or more than 20 per cent of the Liverpool population.
Backchat will comprise of six annual talks from a range of NSW and national guest speakers. Each presenter will provide insights into power and influence and participate in interactive Q&A sessions, hosted by the young people.
The first of the series will take place Friday, 27 September at 2pm at Noffs’ Street University campus in Liverpool, with New South Wales Treasurer, The Honourable Michael Baird. Mr Baird will discuss the importance of embracing opportunities and share advice on how to accomplish personal aspirations. (Full details at end of this release).
In 2012 the Liverpool Council produced a youth strategy, which identified the need for additional participation opportunities for local young people, as the majority of young people surveyed indicated they did not feel their voice was valued in the community.
Street University Co-founder Matt Noffs said the new Backchat forum will give youth an opportunity to tell their story and express their desires and goals, but also to challenge the people making decisions about issues that affect them.
“This series is all about empowering youth from marginalised areas by equipping them with a fuller understanding of the business and political world and providing them with the chance to engage with influential people,” he said.
“Youth in areas like Liverpool are constantly faced with difficult social issues such as unemployment, drugs, alcohol and crime, and yet they rarely have the opportunity to speak out and discuss these problems directly with the influential members of the community who have the power to really change things. Backchat will offer young people the chance to have their voices heard instead of being spoken for by councils, bureaucracies and members of parliament.”
Mr Noffs said Sydney’s South West is fast becoming a hot spot for young people and innovation however, to keep the hub alive, the community needs to invest more time, resources and funds into the area.
“The amount of talent, creativity and drive coming from Sydney’s South West is invaluable and it’s up to us to embrace and nurture these young people,” he said. “In 10 years they will be leading the West, so we need to start listening to what they have to say and providing opportunities that will allow them to flourish.”
When: Friday 27 September from 2 pm until 3.30 pm
Where: Noffs Street University Liverpool, 1 Speed Street (Cnr Terminus & Speed Street)
Phone: +61 2 8785 8000
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Media contact: Sarah Tsiros (02) 9492 1034 / 0466 805 364 or firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Noffs Foundation: About the Noffs Foundation: The Noffs Foundation is one of Australia’s leading youth services providers, and an advocate for best practice in drug and alcohol provision, prevention and treatment. The Noffs Foundation was founded in 1970 by the great Australian humanitarian Reverend Ted Noffs to provide essential services for young people who experience drug and alcohol problems and related trauma, and their families. Noffs has pioneered new community outreach initiatives, including the opening of free urban education facilities to support young people who are homeless, using drugs, involved with crime or simply need someone to talk to. Other services include rehabilitation, individual and group counselling, education, training and group outdoor activities. The Noffs foundation supports thousands of people every year.
 Council’s Education Options Survey conducted in 2010