With the countdown on for kids to return to the classrooms, Wagga City Council is giving students something to celebrate with the Wagga Back to School Party.
The all-ages event at Chambers Park in Tolland was a hit in 2023 and delivers a mix of live music and entertainment with information and practical support such as school supply packs and free haircuts.
“Council is pretty excited to be able to bring this back again, thanks to funding made available from the Premier’s Department,” said council’s community development coordinator Alex Osgood.
“We have some fabulous community partners that have come on board this year so that we have more resources for young people going to school for the first time or going back to education.
“Whether you’re sporty or you’re creative or you just want to come and chill and watch young local musicians on stage … this is the place for everyone to come.”
The event was launched in response to council’s OUTLOUD WAGGA youth consultation in 2022 and Alex said it was something Wagga’s kids asked for.
“We heard from young people that they want to see more free, all ages, alcohol-free events targeted towards 12- to 25-year-olds and we were really excited to see such a positive response at the first event earlier this year,” Alex said.
To get as many kids as possible involved, a free city bus will run through the afternoon to bring people to and from the event.
“We want to really help the community overcome any barriers to accessing this event and we have a free city bus that will start from Ashmont, Wagga Wagga CBD, Kooringal to Tolland hub and keep looping all night,” Alex explained.
“It is wheelchair and pram accessible, and you simply just hop on; there’s no registration or payment needed.”
A host of community partners will be helping out, with the Rapid Relief Team to run the barbecue, Basketball NSW will shoot some hoops, Wagga Library will have an agile van to help kids get connected with the library and Mission Australia, Ngurra Connected Beginnings, Vinnies and headspace will be on hand with activities and information.
The team from NSW Youth Justice are also involved and will be shouting kids free haircuts through the evening and Vinnies Riverina will have packs of pencils, glue sticks and more to help get kids off on the right foot in 2024.
“We know that the cost of living is rising and council is really aware of this, so we’re working with community partners to be able to provide these services,” Alex said.
“We’re not only just providing some relief and services and support on the day, but also helping community understand where to go in the future to find help.
“There are so many local organisations that can provide food relief, financial assistance and financial counselling, so it’s about connecting our community with these services and just raising awareness of them in a way that’s sort of fun as well.”
This free event kicks off at 5 pm on Saturday 27 January at Chambers Park in Tolland.