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New scheme to support at-risk young West Aucklanders

New scheme to support at-risk young West Aucklanders

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has announced new Government funding for the Zeal Education Trust to support its work with young people in West Auckland in reducing anti-social behaviour.

“Zeal does an amazing job with young people in West Auckland, and funding of $200,000 over the next two years will help them to develop and run a new initiative to better connect with at-risk young people,” Mrs Bennett said.

A Youth Host scheme will be established in Henderson with trained youth workers patrolling local ‘hot spots’ and connecting with young people to prevent anti-social behaviour.

“Youth Hosts will be a positive presence on Henderson streets. They will have the skills and training to connect with young people to assess how things are going for them and give support when it is needed,” Mrs Bennett said.

“We’re seeing youth crime rates dropping across the board. In the Waitemata District there’s been a 34 per cent reduction in the number of 10 to 13-year-olds picked up by Police since 2009, compared to a 30 per cent drop nationwide.”

“On the ground support from trained youth workers is aimed at reducing these rates even further and will target anti-social behaviour including tagging, under-age drinking, shoplifting, bullying, or truancy.

The Youth Host initiative was piloted by Zeal last year and feedback from young people shows it had a good impact, giving them someone to talk when they were reluctant to talk to Police or other adults, and helping young people feel safer on the streets.

Zeal will operate the scheme out of its Youth Centre with support from Police, council and other community organisations.

“With the recent tragic events in West Auckland it is timely that Zeal has developed a community-based initiative that provides practical support for our youth while having more eyes and ears on our streets,” Mrs Bennett said.


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