SURREY – What does Surrey’s next generation think about the city’s future? That’s what a SurreyCares report card hopes to find out.
"We need to know what struggles they’re facing," said Jeff Hector, president of SurreyCares Community Foundation.
The local charity is asking residents aged 12 to 24 to grade the community. The answers will be published in a Youth Vital Signs report this fall with the goal if increasing awareness of youth views on life in Surrey, as well as providing information for future funding decisions for programs and services.
Allison Nelson, an SFU co-op student working with SurreyCares, said people often think they know what youth need but this report is about learning "what youth want."
Last October, the City of Surrey received a "C" in the first-ever quality-of-life report card. A total of 571 residents participated in the SurreyCares survey in which they were asked to grade the community on everything from crime to the economy.
The Vital Signs report is a national initiative, combining statistical data and public perspective into a report, and the 2014 project was the first time it was done in Surrey.
That report found that 17 per cent of Surrey’s population is youth. In the survey, one third said they did not think they would live in Surrey five years down the road.
The top issue for youth was found to be the lack of local jobs. Affordable housing was another big concern.
The report also noted a shortage of post-secondary seats in Surrey when compared to the provincial average: There are only 12.7 postsecondary
seats per 100 youth in Surrey, compared to 48.7 seats per 100 youth in B.C. When Surrey’s mark was revealed last year, Hector said the city is "going through some growing pains" and the report has "exposed" them.
The city received failing marks for safety, transportation, standard of living and housing. Surrey was given Cs for arts and culture, the economy and the environment.
The survey found residents believe the top 10 things to celebrate about the community are parks; festivals and events; locally grown food; the natural environment; diverse cultures; the growing economy; recreation opportunities; friends and family; good governance and people.
To read the full 2014 report, or to take part in the youth survey, visit Surreycares.org. The youth survey will close on June 30.