Youth Taskforce focus on Wanganui East - 11/10/2011
Members of the Community Taskforce on Youth Wellbeing are looking at opportunities available to young people living in Wanganui East and Aramoho, in response to concerns over the lack of youth services available in the suburb.
The taskforce, established in 2007, aims to play a co-ordinating role in supporting and creating initiatives that will assist young people to make more positive and worthwhile choices and support the work of other agencies working in this area. The taskforce is jointly chaired by Whanganui Iwi and the Wanganui District Council.
The agencies and groups represented by the taskforce agreed action was needed to divert some vulnerable young people in Wanganui East from becoming involved in gang activity and to offer activities which supported the whole community.
“It was clear from our discussions that issues exist,” said taskforce Co-Chair Cr Philippa Baker-Hogan. “What was not clear was the extent of the problems and most importantly, what kinds of solutions the community in Wanganui East would like to see.
“Members of the taskforce will undertake an initial survey of residents and young people to get a clear picture of the issues. Mayor Annette Main is also holding a public meeting in Wanganui East in early November, which is another opportunity for people to have a say about their community.
“There are very few activities and facilities which young people would like to access based in Wanganui East and this is contributing to a lack of engagement with their immediate local community. There are no youth services based in the area at present either.
“Wanganui East does have a great facility in terms of the swimming pool, but this is seasonal. It’s really well used by local young people. This shows us they are keen to do things and take part in activities if they are close to home, affordable and accessible.
“It’s important to stress that the Taskforce works alongside the community, to ensure we do appropriate work based on what the community perceives as a need. It’s about getting action and initiatives underway and working with young people and their families to provide good outcomes for the community and ensuring our young people have opportunities which will lead to positive choices.
“Looking at an area like Wanganui East is a positive step and one where we as a group have the potential to work with agencies and local people to effect a long term and positive change.”