Youth centre celebrates a year keeping kids out of trouble

The Parklands Youth Centre is a safe place for young people to make friends and unwind after school.

It was created a year ago by the Queenspark Community Trust to help keep teens out of trouble.

This month it's celebrating it's first birthday. 

Community youth worker Jasper Van de Meer said post-Covid, the community noticed an increase in vandalism and other misbehaviour from local kids.

"There was a lot of community meetings happening just about the young people's behaviour being quite anti-social in Parklands and people always wanted to do something. People always wanted to try and change something".

The Youth Centre is aimed at school pupils in year levels 6-10, aged 9-15 years old.

Each Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, young people can gather at the centre after school, to eat food and socialise for a few hours.

Parklands Youth Centre pupils during their disc golf coaching session. Photo: Supplied
Parklands Youth Centre pupils during their disc golf coaching session. Photo: Supplied
Van de Meer said it was a safe place for them to spend their time,  and gave them the chance to interact with people of similar ages, while being offered guidance by volunteer adults.

"This is just a place where they hang out so it's nothing too organised, we just have a bit of food, a bit of Milo and they can play any games they want here."

He said the community has welcomed the Youth Centre project.

Since the centre opened a year ago, it has hosted more than a hundred young people from seven different schools in the area.

Volunteers also regularly stage events for the pupils, including; coaching in disc golf and 3 on 3 basketball.

The Parklands Youth Centre has the support of more than 10 local organisations and businesses, including Parklands United Sports Club, Fresh Choice Parklands and Kainga Ora Queenspark.  

Van de Meer said he would love to see similar projects created in other Christchurch suburbs, and believed it was beneficial for everyone in the community.

- By Emily O'Hagan, made with the support of NZ On Air