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Communities contribute positively

8 February 2008

Communities contribute positively

This month, CAYAD (Community Action Youth and Drugs) will host the inaugural Celebrating Success awards. The event acknowledges and celebrates the positive contribution made to the Clendon community by its youth, their families and friends. Excellence awards, prizes and scholarships will be presented for service to the community, as well as for outstanding sports, creative and academic achievement.

These awards highlight the fact that the recent acts of violence in Manurewa cannot undermine the reputation of a community where the vast majority of people contribute positively, says Manukau Mayor Len Brown.

"There are a number of initiatives by Manukau City Council and other agencies that aim to address youth issues and strengthen our communities.

Some initiatives by the council attempt to address crime, and other projects are put together to provide positive and constructive options for the youth.

For example, Manukau City Council is currently negotiating with the Department of Internal Affairs to direct their community development funding to Manurewa for the purposes of building the capacity of existing youth focused community groups to deliver services on behalf of public authorities.

The council maintains a monitored CCTV network in the Manurewa Town Centre. Also, the council and Work and Income have established ambassadors in Manurewa Town Centre to increase the safety of businesses and the public. The five ambassadors are employed by the local Business Association and patrol the town centre between 10am and 3pm on weekdays and 9.30am and 2.30pm on Saturdays.

Similarly, the council and the Ministry of Justice have provided funding to the Manukau District Crime Watch Patrol Trust for the next three years to support the trust in delivering crime prevention services in the city. The Manurewa branch volunteers patrol the streets of Manurewa to act as the eyes and ears of the police.

On another front, many church groups in Manurewa came together this summer, under the council-funded Manurewa Safe in Summer Project. More than 36 young volunteers offered a deterrent presence on the streets, and provided recreation events for youths in Manurewa.

A Youth Offending Team (YOT) in Manurewa provides a forum for government and other stakeholders to plan services for young people to reduce youth offending. The council has employed a YOT coordinator with Ministry of Justice-funding to offer advisory services in the Counties Manukau region.

The council has employed a youth coordinator at Te Matariki in Clendon to deliver free programmes in conjunction with the Clendon Community Support group. The coordinator ran a youth mentoring camp for 10 young people last month.

The government has responded to youth gang issues in Manukau through funding youth workers. Manurewa has been allocated three youth workers employed by the Maori Women's Welfare League and the 2Much Trust. The council will soon employ a co-coordinator on behalf of the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) to coordinate all youth workers on MSD-funded contracts in Manukau. The council also works closely with the Manurewa Maori Wardens to provide services to the local community.

The council has leveraged Ministry of Health funding for the Health Promoting Schools (HPS) project which operates in primary schools and teaches children about healthy living and safety. Manukau City Council is the only local authority to be selected to deliver the HPS programme. The Ministry also funds the Community Action on Youth and Drugs (CAYAD) project in Clendon which focuses on community initiatives and education on alcohol and drug issues.

The council has also partnered with the Manurewa Business Association which has joined the Business Improvement District initiative. This allows the council to raise additional funding from local businesses and hand over these funds to the Business Association (with a council contribution) to implement strategic priorities.

These projects have already started showing results. According to the recent Quality of Life Survey, more than 25,000 new jobs were filled during 2001-2006; an increase in filled job numbers of more than 27 per cent during the period. The number of people with qualification has increased from 75.6 percent in 2001 to 76.8 percent in 2006. Among the cities surveyed, Manukau recorded the biggest decline in low-achieving school-leavers.

Negative perceptions of communities are compounded by issues such as urban decay and dilapidated neighbourhoods. The council is currently working with Housing New Zealand and other agencies on an urban renewal project in the Rata Vine area of Manurewa.


NOTE TO EDITORS

The Clendon CAYAD project was set up in March 2004 and is a partnership between Ministry of Health and Manukau City Council. Clendon is one of 15 CAYAD sites across New Zealand participating in a national programme that targets the use of illegal drugs among local youth.

ENDS


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