Manchester House - Social Services Society, Feilding.
Youth Services

           Positive futures for YOUTH
Robyn Duncan has a passion for helping families stay safe and young people reach their potential. She is a busy person and much of her time is spent in her role working as a Family Supporter and an Alcohol and Drug Support worker for Manchester House.
Her work can see her working with young people from the age of 12 years who may have addiction problems. She is there to support them with making positive choices in life.
She attends meetings with clients and their families, and in some cases supports them through court appearances. "It's about helping them with finding the right resources and support in our community so they can lead a more fulfilling life."
Another group Robyn works with are young mothers who can find themselves isolated or in need of support.
The local Youth Aid officers at Feilding Police also sing her praises for the work she does with youth and they happily work alongside her and respect her role.
Family group conferences through the Youth Justice system also use Robyn's services with issues such as Care and Protection.
As well as one-on-one and group and advocacy meetings, Robyn is a person who is known to roll up her sleeves and do the hard work. Because of this, she was awarded a Queens Service medal in 2011 and earlier this year (2013) was recognised by the Orangi Kaupapa Trust, which has the purpose of recognising those people whose work benefits the quality of life in New Zealand.
Robyn was the first co-ordinator of a youth justice scheme, which was trialed in Feilding. Under her influence, the Feilding and District Youth Board was so successful in reducing repeat offending among young people, the Youth Court Judge Grant Fraser dubbed her and Youth Aid Officer John Samuela "the dynamic duo". Robyn's personality is an important factor in influencing young offenders.
Not only did she collect the young offenders assigned to do volunteer work each Saturday and supervised their work, she developed a caring relationship with them and their families, remembering their birthdays, and ensuring they got out of bed and ate properly. If they carried out the tasks set by the Youth Board, the young offenders avoided going to court.
Very few who went through the process under Ms Duncan re-offended.
Manchester House appreciates her work with the social service organisation dealing with many aspects of care for families on their books.
Robyn and Youth
Young Dreams Parenting Programme.
The Young Dreams Parenting Programme was established in March 2010 out of an identified need within the community for the provision of a free, safe, warm, stable environment for young mothers and their babies as well as parents with young children; a place where they could be with others their own age and where they could share and learn strategies for looking after their families.
Workshops involving other community groups and agencies have proven very successful. These include budgetting, cooking, Christmas craft, car seat information, gardening, a first aid course, visits from Plunket, Runanga, Active Movement and parenting advice via programmes such as SKIP, Triple P and others.
Without the continuous support from Manchester House Social Services in the form of Family Support Workers, Budget advice and Social Worker, this programme would not have evolved into what it is today.
Sharing, and being empowered through the support and assistance they receive, has given many young parents the opportunity to determine what it is they want out of life, to carry on their education, seek employment or just generally prepare themselves for the next step in their life's journey.
The establishment of the programme has attracted wide community and subsequently national interest which included a visit from MPs Paula Bennett and Simon Power.
The parents and their children have also attended a reception at the Manawatu District Council and shared morning tea with the Mayor and other Councillors.
This year (2013) the Young Dreams programme will evolve to meet the needs of another group of young parents and children, but its underlying principles will remain the same. These are to focus on forming a caring relationship with each parent and creating an environment which provides security and stability, as we endeavour to inspire and encourage personal development, and life skills.
Mel Boerboom Young Dreams Coordinator


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