Whanake Youth students, from left, Cannon Stewart-Hall, Tavita Hewetson-Talamaivao, Odin Graham, Fenix Tarawa and Kiana Shutkowski are getting ready to help give the Nelson Basketball building wall a makeover. Photo: Kate Russell.

Youth to put some colour in Stoke

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A dingy wall in central Stoke is set to get a makeover next month, thanks to some local youth.

Whanake Youth, a charitable trust with a focus on youth health and well-being, have received funding from the Mental Health Foundation to paint a mural on the back wall of the Nelson Basketball building on Neale Ave.

They are bringing award-winning Auckland artist Charles Williams to Nelson to paint the mural with a group of 15 young people, aged between 13 and 16 years, who have been given a second chance at learning.

Charles, who has a connection to one of the students, will lead a workshop around healthy expression of thoughts and feelings through art and help them to compile a plywood triangle that will be incorporated into the mural.

Co-director and clinical lead at Whanake Youth, Lee-ann O’Brien, says it was a chance to do something positive for not only the youth involved, but for Stoke too.

“We know this wall is part of the history of Stoke but it’s about moving forward with who we have as young people now.”

“We are wanting to have a visual representation of how our youth feel about their community and give them something they can own, and we hope the local community will come down and see our youth in action.”

Lee-ann says the theme for the mural will be ‘build’. “Building relationships with the community – and each other.”

The mural will be painted from the 15 – 18 November, but before that happens Lee-ann says they would love some help from the community with getting everything ready.

“We need help with supplies such as rollers, paint, spray cans, brushes and plywood, as well as for a working bee on the weekend of 2 – 4 November to waterblast and prep the wall,” says Lee-ann. “We’d like to thank High Reach and Access Hire who have already donated a scissor lift and The Mad Butcher next door for supporting us with kai.”

The wall will be unveiled during an event on 18 November

Frances Tilly from the Nelson Basketball Association says she is a big supporter of the project. “Putting some colour in Stoke can only be a good thing.”

If you can donate supplies or help at the working bee, please contact Rachel Gordon at Whanake Youth on 02102702417 or email rachel.gordon@whanakeyouth.org.nz