Narromine is located in central western NSW. The unique flatness of the countryside and the red and black soils are an incredible sight – the NSW outback is amazing. The young people living in and around Narromine are just as amazing, the Youth Council of the Narromine Shire are doing some great youth projects.

The Narromine Youth Council aims to promote and support the health and well being of young people by providing opportunities for young people to:

  • access resources that meet their needs for recreation and information
  • be involved in the community, develop new skills, have new experiences and meet new people
  • have a voice about the issues which impact on their lives and
  • to be involved in social action.

The Narromine Youth Council have completed an alcohol awareness campaign that is a lot different from the usual youth campaign. Why? Because it’s really local and relevant to the young people living in the region. They have created the campaign from the ground up.

How did they do it?

In May 2005 the youth council had an interest in working on a drug and alcohol project. They wanted more advice on how to do a youth project so they got Priya MacDonald involved. Priya is an adolescent health improvement officer, drug and alcohol services with Greater Western Area Health Service. In consultation with Priya the youth council decided to find out what young people’s thoughts were first concerning drug and alcohol and what the issues were so that they knew where to focus their energy.

How did they get young people’s thoughts?

The youth council created the street talk survey. The youth council came up with a number of questions to ask the young people in their region. Mick Bell, the Narromine, Gilgandra Shire Councils Road and Safety Officer said “it was a great idea because the young people did face to face interviews, so it worked well”. The survey aimed to find out ‘what young people think’ and helped to shape the direction for future youth projects.

Why did it work so well?

“It was a small survey and a simple procedure that collected information about young people’s thoughts on alcohol” said Priya. Also, it was a youth driven project and having young people interview other young people is a great way to gather information.

Where to from here?

Priya put all the information from the surveys into a useable document that presents the information from the surveys clearly. The youth council discussed the results from the survey and came up with some aims for the next stages of alcohol awareness campaign. The aims include:

  • Talk to young people about ‘what they think’ about alcohol usage
  • Increase community awareness about the impacts of young people using alcohol
  • Assist young people to make positive choices through education of safe partying techniques, responsible choices and alternatives to having a fun time without drinking
  • Help provide activities for young people to participate in that are drug and alcohol free
  • Seek support and help to continue more educational projects regarding the incidence of underage and binge drinking amongst young people.

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Another positive outcome of the survey was that it led Greater Western Area Health Service and Narromine Shire Council to team up and raise awareness about the increasing incidence of teenage parties during the festive and holiday periods and how to host a fun and safe party.

The Narromine Youth Council has got off to a great start in addressing drug and alcohol issues in their community. The street talk survey is a fantastic idea that involved young people in a new and creative way.

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