UNICEF hosts NSW Youth Drought Summit in Lake Macquarie between Wednesday October 9 and Friday October 11

LOOKING FOR SOLUTIONS: Tocal Agricultural College students Luke Richards and Catherine Mitchell, both 19, will contribute to the NSW Youth Drought Summit to be held in Lake Macquarie this week. Picture: Simone De Peak
LOOKING FOR SOLUTIONS: Tocal Agricultural College students Luke Richards and Catherine Mitchell, both 19, will contribute to the NSW Youth Drought Summit to be held in Lake Macquarie this week. Picture: Simone De Peak

A three-day summit bringing together 100 young people affected by drought from across the state will begin at Lake Macquarie on Wednesday.

The United Nations' children's charity UNICEF is hosting the conference at Point Wolstoncroft Sport and Recreation Centre after a study by the charity found young people living on drought-stricken properties in NSW were experiencing "escalating levels of stress" due to financial and emotional pressure at home and a greater workload split between farms and school.

"These young people and children talked about, for example, not only having to cope with euthanising extremely sick and distressed farm animals, but in some cases of having to do it before school, then having to come home and bury them afterwards," UNICEF Australia senior policy advisor Oliver White said.

JOURNEY: Patrick Blomfield, 16, will travel from a Caroona farm to learn "how to best deal with the stress and pressure of drought" and share "stories and ideas".

JOURNEY: Patrick Blomfield, 16, will travel from a Caroona farm to learn "how to best deal with the stress and pressure of drought" and share "stories and ideas".

"We found that they have been put in the position of having to make very adult decisions about their lives, their parents' lives, their family's farms and businesses - these decisions, their insights and solutions are based upon real, lived experience, have clarity and offer valuable contributions," he said.

Amy Lamoin, head of advocacy and policy at UNICEF Australia, said the summit was being held in Lake Macquarie to give the participants, aged 14 to 24, a break from the severe conditions at home.

The participants will come up with a set of recommendations for policy makers and will learn how to implement their ideas for improvement in their own communities.

They will also have a chance to enjoy the change of scenery with activities like canoeing, high ropes and yoga.