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Connecting during COVID-19: Marlborough Youth Trust

Rātā Foundation loves hearing about all the ways community organisations are adapting to the changing COVID-19 Alert Levels and continuing to provide services and innovative initiatives online, and over the phone.

This story is part of Rātā’s Connecting during COVID-19 series. Visit our Community Stories page for more.

From using Snapchat to record fun videos of themselves, to having hang-out sessions via Zoom, the team at Marlborough Youth Trust (MYT) have gone the extra mile to support young people during COVID-19.

The Blenheim-based youth support service, has shown both agility and innovation in its efforts to ensure young people in the region feel connected.

MYT Manager Jo Lane says when Level Four came into effect, the crew jumped into action and began producing a series of videos reflecting the Five Ways to Wellbeing: Connect, Take Notice, Keep Learning, Be Active and Give.

She says the series has had a positive response from youth who have engaged with them and put the elements of wellbeing into action in their own bubbles.

While many of their regular programmes and events had to be put on hold, Jo says MYT has found many different ways of encouraging young people to connect and participate.

She says MYT were fortunate to be able to tap into resources and training through Ara Taiohi, which helped the Youth Workers upskill during lockdown.

MTY Youth Worker Soni Kula says he struggled at first to adapt during lockdown as he didn’t feel equipped to maintain the same level of connection to the young people he supports.

However he says the training from Ara Taiohi helped him utilise technology and discover new ways of connecting via online platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat and Zoom.

MYT Youth Worker Rebekah Nafe says young people have been enjoying engaging with the team, even though it is not face-to-face.

She says although some of the team at MYT are ‘old school’ they have been able to learn new skills which will be valuable moving forward, even when the doors at MYT reopen.

MYT Chairperson Russell Smith says he has enjoyed seeing the way the team has grown and adapted during the COVID-19 Alert Level transition period.

He says while they have worked hard to keep youth entertained throughout lockdown, they have also supported young people who were struggling mentally and finding themselves in dark places.

Not all heroes wear capes, he says, and the team at MYT are just that.

Rātā Foundation provides funding to the Marlborough Youth Trust under the Support focus area,  which enables positive youth development for young people/rangatahi.

Marlborough Youth Trust also supports connections, bringing people and community organisations together, and building strong communities.

For more about the Marlborough Youth Trust visit the website: