Youth zones for Tai­hape, Mar­ton

Feilding-Rangitikei Herald - - Out & About - SAM KILMIS­TER

The Ran­gi­tikei Dis­trict Coun­cil has re­warded its grow­ing younger de­mo­graphic with the re­de­vel­op­ment of ‘youth zones’ in Mar­ton and Tai­hape.

The two new fa­cil­i­ties are based at the same lo­ca­tion as the pre­vi­ous youth fa­cil­i­ties, known then as Youth Hutts.

The coun­cil’s strat­egy and com­mu­nity plan­ning man­ager Denise Ser­vante said the zones pro­vided an after-school hang­out for those aged over 11, free of charge.

The clubs en­cour­aged youth to par­tic­i­pate and help co-or­di­nate var­i­ous com­mu­nity and youth events, as well as pro­vid­ing a safe space to meet friends.

The new ser­vices are co­or­di­nated by two new part-time youth work­ers, one each in Mar­ton and Tai­hape.

Ser­vante said they would like to ex­tend on the ini­tial fo­cus of pro­vid­ing after-school pro­grammes.

‘‘The aim is to build on th­ese after-school pro­grammes, but ex­tend out to what young peo­ple in th­ese ar­eas would like – that might in­volve invit­ing other agen­cies to come in and run pro­grammes,’’ she said.

‘‘We’re try­ing to find a more sus­tain­able model for that.’’

Ser­vante hoped youth spa­ces would lead to young peo­ple be­com­ing more pas­sion­ate about their com­mu­nity.

‘‘An im­por­tant part of this is mak­ing sure young peo­ple feel some sort of con­nec­tion with the dis­trict, so when they head off to univer­sity, or their OE, they re­turn to raise their fam­i­lies and grow up here in the Ran­gi­tikei.

‘‘There’s three key groups the coun­cil tries to en­gage – older peo­ple, at­tract­ing and main­tain­ing fam­i­lies and then young peo­ple – the youth zones tick two of those boxes,’’ she said.

The ex­ten­sion to after-school pro­grammes comes after con­sul­ta­tion with young peo­ple at the Level Up Youth fo­rum in Bulls ear­lier this year.

They wanted safe, youth-led spa­ces to con­nect, hang out and find out about all the ac­tiv­i­ties and op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able in the area.

A range of ac­tiv­i­ties will be avail­able in the youth zones and adult vol­un­teers and men­tors are en­cour­aged to get in­volved to help young peo­ple suc­ceed through life.

Peo­ple can con­tact Na­dia Gower to find out more at nar­dia.gower@ran­gi­tikei.govt.nz.

PHOTO: RAN­GI­TIKEI DIS­TRICT COUN­CIL/SUPPLIED

Young peo­ple at the Tai­hape Youth Zone.

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