Youth are now able to show off their talents in a supportive environment with a new weekly event.

The Open Mic Cafe at the Rotorua Youth Centre will be for two hours every Thursday, 4pm to 6pm.

It is an opportunity for youth to get up on stage and perform in a supportive, encouraging environment.

Rotorua Youth Centre youth worker Ant Couch says it could be anything from singing to spoken word, poetry, rap or comedy.

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"It's about building confidence, sharing talent and coming together for fun.

"A fun social event like this is important for youth as it encourages healthy lifestyles and positive interests.

"It provides a safe, warm environment where youth can meet their peers, be involved, support each other, participate, contribute, face our fears, build confidence and gain new experiences."

Ant says these are important for creating a strong, positive self-identity and healthy well-being.

He says the first Open Mic Cafe went really well.

"It was a fun happy supportive environment. There were about 20 people that attended."

There was one performance by Ant and also one by Joel Hazel King - another Youth Worker - and one young person who sang accompanied by Joel.

"As the event builds momentum and youth get more comfortable, we hope for more performances.

"We will be also linking in with local open mics in Rotorua to get musicians to come and play."

Ant is a new youth worker at the Rotorua Youth Centre, having started in the role last Monday.

He was a community support worker for seven years and wanted a change, he says.

Ant is also a musician and thought he would be able to incorporate this passion into work at the youth centre.

He says the Open Mic Cafe has definitely been a highlight so far, and he enjoys meeting and having conversations with the youth.

"There's so much talent around, it's great to give a platform where we can show that. It's amazing the amount of talent that comes through."

He says one of the things he hopes to achieve with the Open Mic Cafe is giving passion for music and songwriting to others who did not think they were good enough to be a musician or who were shy by having a comfortable and supportive environment.

"I think if you have a positive self identity, and respect for yourself and others, that's going to translate and project out into the community."

Another new programme Ant has coming up at the Youth Centre is Youth TV - Episode One for youth interested in learning about film and TV production.

It is a two hour weekly programme to learn camera work, pre-production, post production/editing and presenting.They will be filming some local youth talent.

It costs $20 for the term.

For more information email activities@rotoruayouthcentre.org.