The Breeze breakfast host Breffni O’Rourke, left, with the Car Company’s Oliver Brown, second right, and Shane Drummond, right, with the Nelson Youth and Community Trust’s David Atoa, second left, and Nathan Telfer aboard The Truck. Photo: Simon Bloomberg.

Final days for charity drive applications

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The latest entry in the Car Company Charity Drive, Nelson’s Youth and Community Trust, is gaining a high profile from some of the concerts it is staging for the region’s youth, but there’s much more to the charity than fun and games.

The trust was formed in 2002 with the aim of adding value to young people’s lives and helping them achieve their goals. It has helped organise popular alcohol and drug-free musical events, and also promotes recreational services for young people by way of The Truck.

The trust’s Nelson Underage hit the headlines when they joined forces with Smokefreerockquest to stage the Broods concert at the Theatre Royal in June. The concert was a sell-out and Nelson Underage organiser Nathan Telford is hoping their next event featuring international DJs performing at the Tahunanui Skating Rink on September 27 will be just as popular.

The Truck is also proving to be a big hit taking its mobile recreation facilities, which includes a skatepark, basketball hoops and touch and football equipment, to schools and sports grounds around Nelson.

“We get 100 to 120 teenagers a week at the Truck. We cover the Victory community, the YMCA, Nelson Intermediate, Broadgreen, Stoke Youth and go to Saxton Stadium,” Nathan says. “It’s going very, very well.”

But trust manager David Atoa says there’s a serious side to their services because they also provide accommodation and care for at-risk youth.

“These teenagers might have come from a situation where the family has broken down and need a place to stay for two or three days,” David says. “It happens in Nelson more than you think.”

David says they also help young people cope with the big step from school into the workforce through their Youth Transition services. Staff help youth with writing CVs and job placement and provide mentoring to help them through what can be a challenging stage of their lives.

David says the trust is funded by the Nelson City Council as well as from community grants from groups including the Canterbury Community Trust.

“We have a very dedicated staff and volunteers and get some funding but it is limited. We could do so much more and provide a much better service for the region’s youth if we had more funding.”

The Car Company Charity Drive competition offers $10,000 to a non-profit group or organisation in the Nelson-Tasman region.  It has attracted 58 entries with the winner to be named on The Breeze radio show on September 5.