Pair remain after Masterton scheme ends

By Emily Norman emily.norman@age.co.nz -
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Tony and Jan Governor, former Street Youth Ministries programme co-ordinators, will keep their doors open for young people and families. PHOTO/EMILY NORMAN
Tony and Jan Governor, former Street Youth Ministries programme co-ordinators, will keep their doors open for young people and families. PHOTO/EMILY NORMAN

The former co-ordinators of Masterton's Street Youth Ministry programmes, which closed its programmes abruptly this month, say their hearts and passion is still in the calling, and their doors are still open for the kids they have worked so closely with for more than 20 years.

Tony and Jan Governor said Street Youth Ministry has been their life, "24/7 for so long", and that they were "saddened" by a committee decision to close their programmes, which worked with young Wairarapa boys from age 7 to 13, who "needed extra guidance".

A representative of the Street Youth Ministries Trust said the programmes were closed due to a drop in external funding.

"I've done 21 years and I just feel sorry that this programme is missing now because it filled a big void in the community," Mr Governor said. "We're trying to be the fence at the top of the cliff rather than the ambulance at the bottom of it. When I was young, I was on the wrong side of the fence and I believe that if I had something like Street Youth Ministries, I wouldn't have gone down that track."

Mrs Governor said she and her husband had no input into the committee decision to end the programme and that they "would have loved to have had one more night and dinner with the boys".

"It's sad. We've had lots of agencies that we work with phone up and say, 'what are we going to do with these boys'?

"It's really hard for us because this is not just a job that we've lost, it's been a calling and our life for so many years. We've still got a passion for the youth but reality is we will still have to find new jobs somewhere.

"We just wanted to let everyone know that we care and our doors are still open for these kids and their families. Times are really, really hard and families need help, not criticism."

Mr Governor said there would have been hundreds of boys that came through the programme -- "maybe 40 boys a year", and that they have seen them grow up to become "really positive community members".

"Jan and I want to stay in this field. We've both still got the passion for it and if there was someone that had the funding or whatever, we would help get something going," he said.

"Whether it's us running it or someone else, there's just that need out there for these boys, and something needs to happen."

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