A new study from Bendigo Foodshare, the City of Greater Bendigo, and the Bendigo Student Association – YouFood Insights – is looking at the financial impact of COVID-19 and the ability to afford food and groceries on young Central Victorians.

Supported by Imogen Holdsworth from Bastion Insights and Meg Young from Engine Research Group, the seven-minute survey will give 16 to 24-year-olds the chance to share their experiences, with the results inputting into the development of food relief programs and services that cater to their needs.

Bendigo Foodshare Manager, Bridget Bentley said many young people were struggling to cope with the financial impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.

“Young Central Victorians already experienced high levels of unemployment and underemployment before the spread of COVID-19,” Ms Bentley said.

“But now they are more likely to be disproportionately impacted by pandemic-induced job losses because of the industries they often work in, like hospitality and retail. 

“When you add increased rents as reliable roommates move away and the cost of studying online, you start to realise that young people have significant barriers to their road to financial recovery.”

YouFood Insights Ambassadors talk about youth food poverty in Central Victoria.

YouFood Insight Ambassador, Khayshie Tilak Ramesh said that as a recent university graduate, she knew a lot of young people who had their hours cut or lost their job since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Australia. 

“They’re really struggling right now; juggling bills, looking for work and affording basic necessities, like rent and food,” Ms Tilak Ramesh said.

“Services like Bendigo Foodshare are great because they help distribute food to people in need via local charities, community groups and schools around the region.

“But often young people are living out of home for the first time, don’t know where to go for help and are afraid of being stigmatised or turned away.

“That’s why we need their insights to make sure the services available in Central Victoria meet their needs and can support local young people get back on their feet.” 

Launching on Monday 20 July, YouFood Insights is open to people aged 16-24-years-old who are living in Central Victoria.

The survey is the first of its kind to be conducted in the region and will help local organisations:

  • Understand the barriers young people face getting food relief
  • Find the best ways for local services to reach young people 
  • Help tailor programs and services towards young people
  • Engage young people directly in the design of new initiatives

The survey closes on Sunday 9 August 2020, with results to be released in late September. 

Participants in the survey will also have the option to share their big ideas on how to reduce youth food poverty for the chance to win one of five Spotify vouchers or 20 grocery gift cards.

To take part in the survey, visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YouFoods. Spread the word using #YouFoodInsights