The organisers of a new initiative that will see Oamaru youth better supported in the community were elated after an event on Friday evening.
The Bedford School of Music was the first group to utilise the new youth centre, which is situated in the old Cafe Katz building.
The school held its end-of-term concert there, which saw several vocalists perform, along with Rockfest finalists and student band, Kudos.
Youth centre manager and Bedford School of Music teacher, Jae Bedford, said the centre had been open for two weeks and Friday night was a chance to see how the venue would work during an event.
“We’re ecstatic about the building,” Mr Bedford said.
“Tonight has shown us that the venue is an absolute goer.
“We’ve booked in two more concerts for the school of music, one at the end of next term and one for the end of the year.
“The venue is completely appropriate.”
The centre is open Wednesday, Thursday and Friday afternoons from 3-6pm and available for hire to any youth, community or church-based groups.
Mr Bedford said they were in ‘dream phase’ and throwing around lots of ideas about how to best utilise the venue.
“We’re keen to do $5 Fridays, pizza nights and we’re investigating the possibility of organising barn dances, raves and we’re going to set up the kitchen so that we can cook.”
Sports clubs raising money to take students away to competitions will be able to use the centre for fundraising activities.
The old youth centre building in Ribble St no longer met the needs of North Otago Youth Support, so with the help of funding from grants and individual community members, they have been able to move into the new premises.
“We were wanting something more applicable to what we’re trying to achieve,” Mr Bedford said.
“We are trying to fill a void.”
The more serious nature of youth support was that there were parents who couldn’t afford basic things for their children, Mr Bedford said, even though some parents were working two jobs.
As part of his role as manager, he said he would be making sure kids received appropriate support in all ways.
“We’re here to serve the community in a manner which hasn’t been achieved as such yet, to give kids somewhere to go and someone to talk to.”
Young people should check out The Youth Centre, Oamaru, facebook page for details of upcoming events.
By LINDA MCCARTHY