‘Count Our Voices’ - Cheaper Transport Would Support Us
As an organisation with a vision to empower 5-18 year olds to be the best they can be, Youthtown’s CEO, Paula Kearns, was pleased to see the Government’s 2017 Budget investment in education. However, she believes there is an investment gap in 15-24 year olds who are in education or employment and need support during their transition into adulthood.
‘A lot of government’s investment is targeted at areas of risk, however all young New Zealanders face a range of issues and pressures including cost of living, barriers to education, employment and social pleasures’ she says.
Last year, Youthtown had 225,695 participations across their programmes and so were in a good position to support Youth Week’s Theme: ‘Our Voices Count, Count our voices'.
During the week, over 500 13-18 year olds responded to Youthtown’s survey about what makes up a top town for Youth.
As overseas studies* have suggested that access to public transport impacts positive health, through increasing their independence, freedom and mobility, this was one of the topics they prompted.
Over 57% of the secondary school students said that cheaper (or free) transport, as a component of costs of living, would mean they’d attend more sport and cultural events and 15% said they would attend school more. Many comments noted that they’d use public transport more if it was cheaper, but also if it was more reliable, more frequent and if the bus routes were extended.
‘I’d go out with friends more too’
‘I would go out more instead of staying inside eating and being on my phone’
‘I would go to the libraries and other places to help me with school assignments’
‘There would be lots of benefits… including being able to get places instead of my parents having to leave work early’
‘Less financial cost to my parents’
‘If it’s pouring with rain really bad, I don’t go to school ‘cause my parents are at work and I have to walk. if the bus was free I could catch it’
Kearns points out that ‘There are wider benefits to be gained for our next generation from some small changes’.
Youthtown’s Sport, Outdoor, OSCAR and Youth programmes provide skills and knowledge that develop young people, giving them the confidence to make good decisions and build resilience. Their values, Mastery, Independence, Belonging and Generosity are incorporated into everything they do.
*Potential Costs and Benefits of Providing Free Public Transportation Passes to Students in Los Angeles County : An assessment conducted by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health October 2013.
For further information:
Paula Kearns, Chief executive Youthtown
Phone 027 444 3991