'It starts with us' Yhunger training in food and physical activity for Sydney youth workers



Despite Australia's wealth, more than 44,000 young people (aged 12-25 years) are homeless, and 1 in 7 may be at risk of homelessness. Young people experiencing homelessness come from diverse backgrounds, have complex health issues, high rates of food insecurity and poor diet quality. Youth workers in youth services can provide invaluable front line support and social connectedness. Yhunger is an innovative 'learning by doing' program developed in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. This capacity building program provides resources and training for youth services to develop the living skills of homeless and marginalised young people in healthy eating and physical activity. The Yhunger Kit consists of 2 cookbooks for young people with affordable recipes, an activity guide for youth workers and peer educators, and fact sheets on food and wellbeing for young people. Formative mixed method research was used to evaluate and revise the Kit's second edition. Since July 2015, Yhunger has facilitated a series of one-day interactive training workshops in 12 locations across metropolitan Sydney, attended by 180 youth workers and peer educators from 120 youth services and non-government organisations. These services have an estimated annual reach of 12,000 plus marginalised young people. Pre and post workshop evaluation surveys showed participants' confidence to try more food and physical activity with young people doubled after the training. Further evaluations at 6 and 12 months post-workshop will investigate the extent to which participating youth services are implementing the Yhunger Kit and improving their policies and practices involving food and physical activity. Key Messages: 1. Yhunger is an Australian food and physical activity program providing resources and training to youth services and develop the living skills of marginalised young people (12 -25 y.o.). 2. Yhunger workshops trialed with youth workers across Sydney had positive results and reach. 3. The lessons learnt from 6 and 12 months post workshop evaluation. Keywords: Adolescent health Community development/engagement, capacity building, partnerships Food, nutrition Health promotion Minority/marginalised populations Physical activity


Anna Klinken Whelan & Colin Stokes