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Funding for ‘youth helping youth’ project

MEDIA RELEASE
Date: 20 June 2008

Funding for ‘youth helping youth’ project

Waitakere City Council has been granted $70,000 government funding for an innovative project - Youth Action 4 Change - to assist local young people help their peers to make the most of their lives.

Youth Action 4 Change will build on an existing project, Project Free Space that has been guided by the Waitakere youth services sector, with assistance from Youthline over the past six months.

“Youth Action 4 Change is an exciting new development that will make all the difference for youth who are associated with the project, through having advisors who understand where they are coming from. It will operate like a youth Citizens Advice Bureau, giving information to young people.

“It has been proven that youth respond more readily to someone near their own age who has come through the school of hard knocks,” says Waitakere Youth Advocate, Councillor Linda Cooper.

The funding will allow a peer-friendly youth development worker to co-ordinate information and access to services from the Project Free Space for the next three years and funding for one scholarship in year one of the Youth Action 4 Change scholarship programme.

“Many existing youth workers have come from situations of adversity, and it is often only by chance that they have managed to turn their lives around and work with young people, and often this is later in life. We are seeking to target young people in a cohesive way that supports them to build their own personal capacity and develop their passion to work with their own peers,” says Councillor Cooper.

The YA4C scholarship will provide a 12 month salary and some project money to a young person who has had first hand experience of a particular social issue affecting young people.

“The role of the organisation will be to support/mentor the young person to work with affected young people including teen parents, those in gangs or on drugs and those with education difficulties. Any opportunities we can take to help these kids turn their lives around is positive",” says Councillor Cooper.

“Young people have told us they want better information and support services, so the council has agreed to provide a space within in the new youth facility for a young people’s community information and support hub,” she says.

Youth Action 4 Change will operate from a space supported by the Waitakere youth services sector and managed by a youth development person and young people independently of the wider youth facility.

Youth Affairs and Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced the funding from of the Ministry of Youth Development's Youth Development Partnership Fund.

“I’m delighted to congratulate Waitakere City Council whose innovative project, Youth Action 4 Change, is among those to be granted funding. I am excited that the Ministry is able to support this initiative, which will involve, challenge and encourage local young people,” Minister Mahuta said.

"It's great to see central and local government along with the community, working together by investing in the needs of young people to improve engagement, foster leadership, increase participation and conduct a whole range of events and activities for young people," says Nanaia Mahuta.

"The fund reflects the fact that councils not only need to develop projects which address the needs of young people in their communities, but that they also need to be innovative and inclusive in their approach if they are to truly engage with young people and keep them involved and enthusiastic,” she says.

The Youth Development Partnership Fund provides an opportunity for the Ministry of Youth Development, territorial authorities and young people to work together to provide new and innovative local youth development projects.

ENDS

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