A place for young people in Stratford

The Focus on Youth – by Youth for Youth Project is an innovative new venture for young people in Stratford.The need for a public place for young people to go where they can feel comfortable and safe has been strongly voiced. This is an example of a youth development partnership programme we fund.


The Stratford District Council received funding to employ a Youth Initiatives Facilitator to research the concept of a youth centre. Funding was provided by the Ministry of Youth Development's Youth Development Partnership Fund and Mayor's Taskforce for Jobs.

This is the result of a lot of work done with young people in the community to identify their issues and needs.

In 2002, the Stratford District Council identified a lack of connection with young people and decided to create opportunities for them to be more involved with activities and decision-making.

Youth forums were held and a Youth Council was formed. Over the past six years the Youth Council has become an active and strong group representing young people in Stratford.

Last year Celia Lashlie and Jan Francis from the Mayors Task Force for Jobs facilitated a community forum. Members from the community including young people, met together for two days to talk about their needs.

Young people identified three things that were important to them, including a place to go, education employment/training opportunities and health services. With more discussion it was realised that the latter two needs could be encompassed by addressing the first.


Youth Initiatives Facilitator Ellen Hall has worked with the Youth Council and members of the community to investigate the feasibility of having a youth centre in Stratford.

The most important part of the project is that young people will be involved throughout the process to ensure their needs are being addressed.

"We're conscious that the project needs to be sustainable. By involving young people in the development of the plan the result will be an inclusive and vibrant outcome," says Council's Community Services Manager Pauline James.

If, after the feasibility study has been completed, the result is that a Youth Centre is viable, then Ellen will develop a project plan.

"We want to thoroughly research the youth centre concept, looking at what works well in other places, and the unique requirements that Stratford young people have." says Ellen.