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Byron Shire
July 16, 2024

Creating a haven for Lismore’s youth

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Lismore City Council Senior Stakeholder and Communications Officer Rebecca Sproule (back) with ABC Takeover Lismore winners who developed the High Schoolers Haven concept. Photo supplied

Lismore has limited opportunities for young people and winners of ABC Takeover Lismore from the May leadership summit are collaborating with Lismore City Council to launch a transformative new initiative for local youth: High Schoolers Haven. 

This unique project aims to redefine opportunities for local youth, offering a vibrant pop-up event framework, where young people can cultivate skills, forge connections with peers and mentors and contribute meaningful feedback on their community.

One of the winners from the ABC Takeover summit and a key figure behind the development of High Schoolers Haven, Artesia, said there are limited social opportunities for teenagers outside of school. 

‘As a teenager, I would much rather attend events organised by my peers, trusting that they know how to create activities we truly enjoy,’ she said.

In her Takeover Lismore submission, Artesia wrote about her experience of being diagnosed with high-functioning autism, also known as Asperger’s.

‘I finally had closure,’ she explained.’My diagnosis helped my parents understand more about themselves and how to support me, especially my dad.’

High Schoolers Haven is a way to bring young people together to create a wide range of fun events and activities from sports to arts that will take place at the Goonellabah Sports and Aquatic Centre stadium. This will be complemented by dedicated chill-out spaces for relaxation and socialising. In addition to recreational activities, High Schoolers Haven will feature local youth organisations available for young people to engage with. 

High Schoolers Haven is set to kick off its pilot phase with events scheduled on Friday evenings: 5 July, 2 August, 6 September, 4 October and 1 November from 4pm to 7pm. Comprehensive data collection during these sessions – covering attendee numbers, costs, community backing and participant input – will play a crucial role in gauging the initiative’s sustainability and pinpointing potential future funding avenues.

Get involved

All interested organisations, individuals and groups are invited to join us in supporting these events by submitting a supporter application at the High Schoolers Haven page at yoursay.lismore.nsw.gov.au. Young people wanting to attend the events can also register on this page.

Lismore City Mayor Steve Krieg said Council was committed to supporting young people and the initiative is a significant opportunity to empower and connect the future leaders of the city. 

‘There have been ongoing collaborative efforts since November 2023 involving Council, the Office for Regional Youth and the Richmond Police District to amplify youth voices,’ he said.

‘High Schoolers Haven is an output of this collaboration and something we hope will establish a successful framework that can be replicated in any community or location moving forward.’


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