Surf Coast Youth Pod to launch

1 December 2017

Young people in the Surf Coast will be able to access health and wellbeing services and a social space when the Surf Coast Youth Pod is launched on Sunday 17 December.

The pod – an initiative of Surf Coast Shire Council’s Youth Development team – will be officially launched at Winchelsea Skate Park. People are invited to attend the free launch event, which will feature skating, entertainment and a BBQ. It will be held from 11am to 2pm.

The pod is in response to last year’s Surf Coast Shire Council Youth Survey, which identified the health and wellbeing of young people as a key issue. The survey found there was a need to establish a youth-specific facility that provided health and wellbeing services and a space to connect with others socially. 

Torquay, Anglesea, Lorne and Winchelsea Lions Clubs contributed more than $8,000 to ensure the pod could be developed. It is a mobile container that will host youth agencies such as headspace, Barwon, Child Youth & Family, and local GPs.

Councillor Carol McGregor said the pod aligned with Council’s goal to help young people and their families access the services and support they need. 

“We listened to our young people in last year’s youth survey, which told us that health and wellbeing was a priority for our youth,” Cr McGregor said.

“We know that for some youth, particularly in regional areas, it’s not always possible for them to access the services they need. We want this pod to be inclusive for all, including young people who might have to overcome barriers to access a space like this.”

The pod’s all abilities access ramp makes it accessible, while it will be powered by renewable energy.

Councillor Libby Coker is a member of Council’s Renewable Energy Taskforce. She said the inclusion of three 250W solar panels – supported by 6kW of battery storage – was a welcome feature.

“The container is set-up to support agencies and staff to work out of it, providing power for equipment such as laptops, phones and speakers,” Cr Coker said.

“It has also been fitted out with LED lighting to support working during the evening. Staff and youth will add their own environmental touches to the pod as it becomes established, so keep your eyes open for pot plants, vertical gardens and interpretive signage.”

The pod will stay in Winchelsea from the launch event until March 2018. It will then move around the shire and visit towns and events, with a schedule to be determined.