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Council’s plan to support happy, safe and connected kids

Three young girls eating ice cream.

Council adopted its inaugural strategy last week to guide the provision of Middle Years programs, services and partnership activities in the shire.

Tuesday 25 August 2020

Mount Alexander Shire Council adopted its inaugural strategy last week to guide the provision of Middle Years programs, services and partnership activities in the shire.

The Mount Alexander Middle Years Plan 2020-2023 is a community driven plan for children aged 8 to 12 years, and their families.

It was developed with feedback received through an extensive consultation process that involved conversations, surveys and forums with local children, their families and middle years’ service providers.

“This is our first-ever plan for this age-group, and we’re incredibly proud of what it sets out to achieve over the next three years,” said Gaynor Atkin, Council’s Manager Community Partnerships.

“We have worked very hard to ensure that the plan’s consultation process included the ideas, concerns and aspirations of the children themselves not just families and service providers,” said Ms Atkin.

“The plan sets out the actions for how we, in partnership with our key stakeholders, can all support children, recognising the role that each of us have in ensuring our shire is a great place for children and their families to live, work and play.”

The Middle Years Plan has three key priority areas:

Happy and Safe Kids
Kids and families have positive mental health, are safe online and offline, and ready to transition to high school.

Active and Adventurous Kids
Kids have opportunities to be physically active and to connect with the environment and have access to age appropriate child friendly spaces.

Connected Kids and Families
Families know what is going on and can access useful and coordinated services, accessible activities, flexible employment and out-of-school-hours care.

Underpinning these priority areas are nine objectives and forty-four actions that provide a framework to guide the implementation of the plan.

Some of the actions include mental health training for children, families and school staff, an increase in the number of schools integrating First Nations perspectives into the curriculum, and the development of a business case for an under 12 year old youth space model, similar to the current Mondo Lounge.

The establishment of a Middle Years Steering Group, comprising of local community members, service providers and government representatives, will ensure that the plan remains a meaningful and progressive document.

Regular conversations, forums and bulletin updates will help keep the community and key stakeholders regularly informed about the plan’s progress, and ensure that successes and achievements are acknowledged, shared and celebrated.

“We are hoping to officially launch the plan during Children’s Week celebrations around the end of October, yet this is pending any COVID-19 restrictions that may be in place,” said Ms Atkin.

“We also acknowledge that the plan was developed prior to COVID-19 and we will therefore continue to review and adapt the plan’s actions to ensure that we are responding to the impacts of COVID-19 on this specific age group and their families.”

“We are looking forward to continuing to work in partnership with the community and service providers to deliver the plan,” she said.

The Mount Alexander Middle Years Plan is here.

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