Network helps youth to feel at home in the community

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A North Otago youth support network hopes for a more youth-focused future after several changes over the past few months.

The Waiareka Youth and Ministry Trust changed its name to North Otago Youth Support (NYOS) about a month ago, in the hopes of becoming more youth-focused.

However, that is not the only change; three of its long-standing members are moving on with their careers.

Youth workers Eugen Dupu and Esther Dupu have been working in schools for NYOS in Papakaio and are now operating under a different network, Legacy Youth.

Youth worker and youth centre manager Michael Frost will move to Auckland at the end of the year to study to become a minister.

His role as youth centre manager will be taken over by Jae Bedford.

NYOS chairman Leigh Hamilton said the changes meant they would be focusing more on connecting the youth in the community and making sure they felt as though they belonged.

They wanted to make the organisation as low-key as possible and would be putting more focus on the Youth Centre, while working with other youth organisations, he said.

They have three open afternoons and are planning on establishing more next year.

Mr Frost said he had been training Mr Bedford to take over his role.

Mr Bedford had previous experience with young people as a music teacher who had his own music school, Mr Frost said.

The youth centre was a great space for young people to have fun but also be supervised, Mr Frost said.

“We can make sure there’s no bullying, no drugs and no alcohol.”

The Youth Centre is open on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday afternoons on Ribble St.

They also hold a pancake morning every Thursday.

Any young person aged from about 11-20 can go there to relax and have fun.

By RUBY HARFIELD