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How have Te Karanga Charitable Trust met the challenges of the COVID-19 lockdown?

Te Karanga Charitable Trust runs successful youth programmes in Auckland and in 2019 they were granted $40,000 from the Lottery Auckland Community Committee to continue their valuable 'Creative Pathways' programme in Mt Roskill. The programme helps young people between the ages of 13 and 18 who have been left out of, or excluded from, mainstream education or vocation opportunities. Typically, they use discussion groups, technical skill development, public speaking, computer skills, radio broadcasting, music and the arts to help these young people express themselves.

2020, however, was to bring fresh challenges with the COVID-19 lockdown in March. The Trust was still keen to deliver their programme but the situation had changed with physical distancing meaning the face-to-face programme delivery was impossible. The Trust was keen to transition the programme online, and with support from a Community Advisor, and a grant from the Ministry of Social Development's Community Awareness and Preparedness Grant Fund of $4,230, they were able to provide some devices and internet connections to the programme. This meant that the Trust was able to help the young people in the programme continue their creative projects of designs, songs, raps and spoken word pieces that they had begun before lockdown.

Being 'distanced' during the lockdown presented other knock-on challenges however. The participants in the programme, like many of us over lockdown, were easily distracted by other things in their home environments, on social media or by life in general, and some were no longer actively participating.  After liasing with whanau and having some extensive team planning sessions, the Trust took the initiative to pivot again; to providing one-on-one mentoring sessions with the young participants of the programme. This second pivot enabled the mentors to provide advice on coping methods while in lockdown, as well as helping with more personal issues pertaining to food supply, living situations, and the participants' state of mind which included providing correct and up-to-date COVID-19 information, helping to dispel conspiracy theories. They also helped to ensure that the young participants could access any benefits available to them, as well as referrals for free personal and family counselling and support. 

Te Karanga Charitable Trust's ability to face up to each new challenge in these unprecedented times and to pivot what they did based on what their young community needed is a good example of a community organisation that is adaptable and agile.  This quote from the Trust's recent Lottery results report, in which the Trust reported back to the Department of Internal Affairs on the outcomes of their $40,000 grant, sums this adaptability up perfectly: 

"We noted with satisfaction during the more recent second wave and lockdowns, that we managed to successfully pivot between the different lockdown levels while maintaining the integrity of our program, without any down time."

In closing, here is a video (below) made by the Trust, called #YOUNGSTORYTELLERZ. 


#YOUNGSTORYTELLERZ video produced by the participants in the Te Karanga Charitable Trust 'Creative Pathways' programme