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Blue Mountains City Council has secured a grant of $50,000 to deliver a Blue Mountains Youth, Environmental and Social Congress: For Young People by Young People.

Planned for early 2016, the Youth Congress aims to engage young people from across the Blue Mountains to lead ecological and social innovation, through community driven change that includes connecting young people with nature.

Mayor, Cr Mark Greenhill said, “I am pleased that local young people will have this opportunity. By organising the Youth Congress, with support from the Council, young residents can acquire various skills in areas such as project planning, leadership, decision making, community engagement, team building and communication. Such experience will help equip them with valuable skills for the future.”

The Youth Congress organisers will be trained in Leadership Facilitation by the award-winning organisation OzGreen. The not-for-profit organisation educates people around the world, enabling them to take action to improve their environment.

The first two days of the Youth Congress will be spent examining local social and environmental challenges, brainstorming solutions and using decision-making models to determine local projects that make a difference. Their ideas will then be presented to community and business leaders for their support and endorsement. The Blue Mountains Youth Council will be closely involved.

The project will be inclusive and aims to improve mental health outcomes for young people. Research has shown that contact with nature can help reduce the effects of many physical, social and wellbeing challenges faced today.

“The Youth Congress is a great chance for young people to build their capacity and shape their priorities,” said Cr Greenhill. “I encourage all young people in the Blue Mountains to be involved and have their voices heard.”

The grant is awarded by the NSW State Government Department of Family and Community Services, as part of the Youth Opportunities program.

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