MPHS Community Trust is making a massive difference to local rangatahi. Based at the purpose-built HubWest facility, MPHS’s Youth Studio is a free, youth-run space for 10-18-year-olds.
‘We provide the space, resources and support for youth to connect, learn, play, develop and challenge themselves,’ explains MPHS Chief Executive Officer Kathryn Lawlor. She adds that the Youth Studio enables rangatahi to build friendships, connect with role models and develop team-working and leadership skills.
The Youth Studio has been up and running for over 10 years. However, according to Kathryn, the need has never been greater in the post-Covid era.
And there’s an exciting programme on offer to entice youngsters. The Youth Studio is open to school groups from Monday to Friday. Many local schools take advantage of the free programmes in state-of-the-art animation, robotics and graphic design.
And after school hours, the Youth Studio transforms into a drop-in creative space for local youngsters. Kathryn reports that youths can get support with school projects and homework or learn new skills. Rangathai can develop their creative side by composing music or exploring fine arts. There’s also a wealth of sports and physical activities available – everything from skateboarding to indoor rock climbing.
Many youngsters who have been through the programme have developed into leaders in the community or at the Youth Studio.
Kathryn says the Youth Studio’s range of activities is constantly changing in response to feedback from young people. And the variety and breadth of the offering keep rangatahi coming back for more.
In addition, hundreds of young people each year take part in free school holiday programmes. Educational, engaging, but above all fun, the holiday programmes are a huge hit with both parents and youths. One grandparent comments, ‘My grandson has been coming home raving about the holiday programme and how much he is enjoying himself.
’The success of the Youth Studio is down to the talented and dedicated staff who take the lead. Youth Programme Manager Clarence Lomiwes speaks for the whole team when he says, ‘It’s awesome to watch the young people grow in confidence through the programmes and activities we run.’ He adds, ‘It really is the most gratifying aspect of my role.’
MPHS applied for support from the 2022 round of the Your West Support Fund. And the $5,000 has gone towards salary costs at the Youth Studio. 'It's down to people to make things happen,’ explains Kathryn. ‘And the help of the Your West Support Fund has been vital,’ she adds.