Funding for New Zealand's nationwide LGBT youth support network Out There! ended last month, forcing its two staff members to depart while plans are made for the project to survive in a lower-key basis. Established in 2004, Out There! is a national youth development project of Rainbow Youth and the New Zealand AIDS Foundation, committed to positive youth development of same sex- attracted and transgender young people. "Funding for Out There! ended on 30 June and further funding for the immediate future has been evasive," says a statement from Rainbow Youth and the NZAF. "Present economic circumstances have taken their toll and we have been informed by the Minister of Youth Development, Paula Bennett, and the Ministry of Health that there will be no new funds available. This comes on top of our present funder, the Department of Internal Affairs stating that they too are unable to temporarily extend our funding as had also been hoped." The NZAF and Rainbow Youth say they will continue the Out There! project on a low-key basis and without staff, while options are explored for both funding and an effective representative structure. Rainbow Youth will play a facilitating role in this process, and the NZAF will continue any core project work already underway, namely the 'Curious' texting service and some research projects. "However, the NZAF has decided that it will take a more low-key role in any new Out There! that emerges," the Foundation says. "This is related to NZAF's desire to focus on its HIV prevention work." Out There!'s two staff members - Kaimahi Takatāpui Taiohi Elizabeth Kerekere and Queer Youth Development Worker Laressa Donaldson must now finish their employment with the project. Together over the past year they have worked on several projects for queer youth, including the Kaha Queer Youth Hui, Curious TXT service, and the Youth'07 research. From 1 August, inquiries regarding queer youth or Out There! can be directed to Rainbow Youth: email@example.com.
Credit: GayNZ.com Daily News Staff
First published: Saturday, 18th July 2009 - 10:19pm
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