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Trust backs youth support work


A Dunedin youth entrepreneurship programme has received a major boost in the latest round of grants from the Otago Community Trust.

The trust released its final round of grants for the year yesterday, more than $950,000 going towards community projects, of which $300,000 was awarded to Mana Rangatahi.

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The programme, aimed at people aged between 16 and 24 of all ethnicities and backgrounds, was started by INNOV8HQ founder Heidi Renata nearly two years ago to support young people into employment pathways.

The grant, which is for two years, will see the Transition to Work Trust partner with INNOV8HQ to continue the ongoing delivery of the programme.

The 12-week programme was initially funded by the Ministry of Youth Development via Startup Dunedin, and about 110 people have been through it so far.

More than 75% of graduates have gone on to full- or part-time employment or entrepreneurial work.

During the programme, participants are placed into real work experience and workplaces, community projects and initiatives with local leaders and experts.

The Transition to Work Trust, which supports Otago youth into employment, was started in 2003 by the then regional commissioner for social development in the South.

The trust was forced to re-evaluate its future recently after it ended its 18-year relationship with the Ministry of Social Development.

Its chairman Dr John Guthrie said the new partnership with INNOV8HQ was “very cool”.

“It is great to be back in this space and to work with Heidi,” he said.

Ms Renata believed Mana Rangatahi and Transition to Work both had the same objectives, so it was the perfect combination to form a partnership.

“We are going to work hand in hand to support youth going forward,” she said.

Otago Community Trust chairman Diccon Sim said the Mana Rangatahi programme closely aligned with the trust’s strategic priority of raising resilience and capacity of youth in Otago.

“We are aware of the strong results the programme has had and we are very keen to see that continue,” he said.

Community trust chief executive Barbara Bridger hoped that by funding the programme it would create a platform for both partners to work from.

“This programme isn’t being offered anywhere else so it is a great opportunity to try new ways of connecting with younger people and connect them to opportunities,” she said.

The partnership will officially get under way in the new year.

The Otago Community Trust also gave $200,000 to Catholic Social Services to support the construction of a new family support centre next to existing offices in Macandrew Rd, South Dunedin.

Other organisations benefiting from grants include the Southland Charity Hospital, which received a $64,500 grant to assist with the cost of establishing the new charity hospital, the grant specifically being earmarked to support the purchase of a Soluscope drying cabinet.

A $20,000 grant was awarded to the Waitaki Community Recreation Centre Trust, to assist with the cost of a flooring and lighting upgrade.

 – riley.kennedy@odt.co.nz

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