Youth Council members show caring nature at Christmas

Caragh Dickson, Kacie Heath and Kori Besgrove pack hampers.

Members of the Ipswich Youth Advisory Council are delivering Christmas hampers to five young women residing at local women’s shelter Hannah’s House.

Project leader Kori Besgrove and fellow IYAC members Caragh Dickson and Kacie Heath this week packed items into the hampers at Studio 188 before taking them to the young women, aged 12-17 years.

The gifts included carry bags, drink bottles, notebooks, make-up and other toiletries.

IYAC, made up of 20 young people from Ipswich ranging in age from 16 to 25 years, meets monthly. As part of a formal project submission process, members recently voted to endorse the Christmas hampers project and sought and received funding from Ipswich City Council to purchase the items.

“We thought it would be a good idea to put these hampers together. These young women are in crisis accommodation and from time to time need help,” Ms Besgrove said.

“We understand some of them have never enjoyed Christmas before. If we can do something small to help them at this time of year, then it might be special for them.”

Hannah’s House, a young women’s shelter in Ipswich, offers short term accommodation, while teaching basic living skills and helping develop a network of ongoing support and assistance for its residents.

It has been helping young women gain their independence for about 35 years.

Council’s Children and Youth Development Officer Cameron Nicholls said the project was aimed at enriching time at Christmas and assisting in the women’s integration back into the Ipswich community.

“Assisting these young adults is a passion of mine, and my goal is to ensure that these women feel support during Christmas,” Ms Besgrove said.

“It can be a difficult time of the year for displaced youth, as it is a holiday which specifically focuses on giving, spending time with loved ones, and feeling connected to other people.

“I want to ensure that the youth are looking after one another, and this is one way that IYAC can support our local community.”

IYAC is a youth engagement initiative which aims to ensure Ipswich’s young people are heard on the issues they care about and are empowered to undertake change-making initiatives across the city – designed by young people, for young people.

There is cultural diversity within the youth council, including Aboriginal, Congolese, Samoan, Fijian, Maori and Australian.

There is also gender diversity (14 females, six males), with a mix of members undertaking secondary schooling, vocational training, apprenticeships, university studies and employment.

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