Hastings District Council’s successful Mahi for Youth programme is going mobile, with a new caravan now ready to hit the road to take the service to the community.
Council says the programme, which operates from a pop-up shop in the city centre, is focused on the social wellbeing of the district’s young people – aged 16-24) – not currently in employment, education or training (NEET).
Since it started in 2017, 253 rangatahi have been placed into sustainable employment and the NEET rate dropped from 17.4% in 2016 to 14.7% in 2020.
Hastings councillor, Eileen Lawson said the caravan, Te Waka Eke Noa, is the next step for this programme, allowing the team to reach and connect with young people across the Hastings district, including the smaller villages and rural communities.
She acknowledged the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment and Eastern Central Community Trust for helping Hastings District Council to fund the caravan.
“This caravan will become a focus for our youth, ensuring our Mahi for Youth team is accessible to rangatahi who are looking to get into education and employment – including those who live rurally or are hard to reach,” said Cr Lawson.
“The programme was recently recognised, being named a finalist in this year’s Local Government EXCELLENCE awards, in the Kāinga Ora Homes and Communities category for Social Wellbeing.”
Partners in the Mahi for Youth Programme, including Ministry of Social Development, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, NZ Police, City Assist and Hawke’s Bay District Health Board joined council at Camberley Community Centre this month to bless the caravan before it hits the road.
“It will be used to connect communities at events and community centres, and I look forward to seeing it in and around Hastings for many years to come,” said Cr Lawson.