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Support for launch of Otara youth project

1 September 2006

Support for launch of Otara youth project

Youth Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta has welcomed today's launch of a South Auckland-based youth work project that will help turn young people away from gangs.

Prime Minister Helen Clark today launched the "274" Youth Worker Project in Otara, part of a $10 million package of budget initiatives designed to support youth workers and families in south Auckland. The number represents the first three digits of Otara's area code.

Formerly know as the Otara Action Group, 274 has been set up to respond to the issue of youth gangs in South Auckland. It provides guaranteed funding for a number of youth workers in the area for the next four years.

"I welcome this fantastic announcement, which will provide certainty of funding for those dedicated youth workers who are at the front line and are making a positive difference in the lives of young people in South Auckland," Nanaia Mahuta said.

"I have met with many of these dedicated youth workers, who are passionate and advocates for the young people they work with, and are often among the only people that young people feel they can relate too.

"This is why community initiatives like 274 that are fronted by local people and support youth development at a local level, provide such a vital connection to young people in their communities.

"The launch of 274 will help cement the great work that has already been done in the Otara community through local organisations like the Crosspower Ministries Trust and the Otara Action Group, in improving outcomes for local young people and giving them better choices that turn them away from gangs."

The government will also soon be releasing a Plan of Action aimed at improving outcomes for young people in the Counties-Manukau and Otahuhu areas.

The plan will identify 26 clear actions, building on initiatives already underway. The aim is to better support at-risk young people and intervene more effectively with youth offenders. Details will be released in the next few weeks.

ENDS

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