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Not-For-Profit Organisation Seeks Recognition

14 June 2005

Not-For-Profit Organisation Seeks Recognition From Business

A long-established Auckland not-for-profit organisation wants business to recognise and help fund the role it performs in keeping the wheels of commerce turning.

Youthtown has just completed a major upgrade of its central Auckland facility in Nelson Street and is engaged on a rebranding programme, emphasising its market leader position as a provider of leisure programmes for young people between the ages of 7and 18.

"A large percentage of our programmes involve providing activities and facilities for children and youth during school holidays or at the end of the school day, whilst parents are working. Without Youthtown, many parents might not be available to put in a full day's work and business would suffer accordingly.

"We want the business community to recognise our role in Auckland's economic life and to examine the potential benefits of sponsoring our work. We believe these benefits could be quite substantial," says Youthtown's Business Development Manager, Greg Weller.

"New Zealand's prosperity depends, in no small measure, upon the hard work of aspirational people with young families. In our fast-paced world, they can't always spend as much time as they would like with their children. This puts pressure on parents' working lives and can prevent children developing into the well-motivated, confident and capable adults we need to keep our country moving forward.

"Fortunately, Youthtown is there for these families. Not only do we look after the kids in a friendly, purpose-built space with great facilities. We also provide exciting and innovative programmes, which give our young people a chance to enjoy themselves, excel, gain confidence and learn a wide range of sporting, leisure and artistic skills," Mr Weller adds.

Activities available at Youthtown are extremely diverse. In addition to day trips, a typical School Holiday Programme for the 7 to 13 age group can include archery, blo-karting, mountain biking, horse-riding, wall-climbing, basketball, soccer, unihoc, badminton and table tennis, along with drama classes, cookery and art sessions, quizzes, DJing, chess and board games.

A similar if slightly less diverse menu is available every weekday during the school term on Youthtown's After School Programme. For the 13-18 age group, Youthtown offers an "Urban Youth Programme" of comparable range, along with special projects such as the current Short Film Challenge, designed to identify "the next Peter Jackson". Summer and ski camps are also provided, as is water sports tuition.

Basketball is a long-standing Youthtown strength, with the organisation fielding representative Auckland teams in national competitions. The Nelson Street facility boasts a full -sized, professional basketball court. In addition, it has a 25 metre heated indoor swimming pool, squash courts and a recently upgraded gym, which is available for adult use and is regularly utilised by fitness-conscious people in the CBD.

"While most of our services are fee-based, we don't want to price them beyond the reach of ordinary Auckland families. The additional funding required to subsidise our programmes comes from individual and corporate donors, philanthropic trusts and the Auckland City Council, with only a very small amount derived from central government," explains Greg Weller.

"We actually value our independence from government, as it gives us the freedom to explore new areas and respond quickly to new patterns of demand. This, in turn, creates opportunities for corporate sponsors who wish to be associated with our work.

"Although we are always extremely grateful for sponsorship, we certainly don't see it as charity. We are, after all, doing our bit towards keeping the wheels of commerce turning, by allowing parents to go to work confident in the knowledge that their children are in good hands.

"We also believe that companies have much to gain from association with a brand such as ours and from the signage and other advantages we can offer. But, above all, we believe that our sponsors, just like all other New Zealanders, can only benefit from the next generation growing up as skilled, positive, fully-rounded people," he adds.


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