Just over $2 million has been granted to a Whangarei trust that will provide a youth space in the city. It is arguably the most significant dollar investment in Northland youth this century.
"Youth space" is a very generic term, but there must have been some very impressive specifics presented by the Whangarei Youth Space Trust which sought the funding, approved by the ASB Community Trust under its Catalyst for Change programme.
The investment by the ASB trust is a massive vote of confidence in young leaders in Whangarei. It also recognises a principle tenet of change involving young people - that the power of a message - is heightened when it is delivered by young people. Or in other words, a bunch of wrinklies telling the youth of today what's they think is right and wrong will not have the success rate of youth identifying problems, coming up with solutions, and delivering them. According to the ASB trust, its Catalyst for Change programme exists "to create significant positive change through supporting innovative projects and practices".
"Under our Catalysts for Change programme, the trust will continue to identify issues facing our region and will fund organisations in a sustained way over a number of years to try to address these issues.
"The intention is to create significant positive change through supporting innovative projects and practices."
The Youth Space will offer young people aged 12-24 leadership, health services, support services, career and skill development, as well as social activities. Whangarei has youth issues, and now has an impressive vehicle to deal with them. It is heartening that Whangarei Youth Space Trust has led the drive to create this space, and therefore have already proved that it is capable of successful goal identification, planning and achieving a goal. I have a sense that we should watch this Space, so to speak, for more good to come.