$1m youth centre gets green light

04:30, Dec 13 2012
Zeal Hamilton
GOLDEN TRIO: The main men of Zeal Hamilton, Simon Patton, James Wotton, and manager Pete Allely in the warehouse which will house a new youth center in a matter of months.

Hamilton kids will soon get the chance to show their stuff in a new $1 million community youth centre aimed especially at giving youngsters creative direction and opportunities.

Thanks to a final top-up of $500,000 from the Lottery Community Facilities Fund,  and ''monumental'' support for the local initiative, Zeal Hamilton has the green light for the new facility.

The non-profit organisation focuses on helping young people mainly through creative arts. The centre will house a performance space, recording studio, art gallery and more, to encourage young people to ''find their art form''.

Zeal Hamilton manager Pete Allely will manage the facility with operations assistant Simon Patton and events manager James Wotton, who have all seen first-hand the talent local youth has to offer.

''There is no shortage of young talent in Hamilton. [This] will be a creative hub for young photographers, film-makers, musicians... and event managers to up-skill, collaborate and get a real creative leg up,'' said Mr Allely.

Mr Allely approached Zeal Education Trust's chief executive Brook Turner to get the ball rolling in Hamilton, and they have been working ''shoulder to shoulder ever since''.

Mr Turner said for a lot of young people who struggle with mainstream education, the centre would provide an opportunity to be educated in a way that resonates with them.

''We believe the contribution we make in life is our art form. It's the difference between going to a job in a cafe where you make coffee, to being a barista that makes coffee art. We believe that the next Mark Zuckerberg may be coming through Zeal,'' he said.

The Zeal facility will be in an upstairs warehouse space on Ward Lane, with a pop-up business space below offering young entrepreneurs a rent-free opportunity to create new businesses.

Zeal is also partnering with other agencies such as Te Ahurei a Rangatahi Trust, who will be co occupants of the space and IDEA Services, and already has a large following in Hamilton.

The move and construction will begin in February and will take an estimated 100 days to complete, until then Zeal will continue to run events and workshops out of its mobile unit.

For more information about the centre, or Zeal Hamilton, visit zeal.org.nz/hamilton.