Building tiny houses to create jobs for Taumarunui youth

Paora Smallman and Briar Hickling are showcasing their tiny house idea that will employ youth in Taumarunui.

Paora Smallman and Briar Hickling are showcasing their tiny house idea that will employ youth in Taumarunui.

A bright idea to provide affordable housing for students, and jobs for youth, by building tiny houses has been granted funding.

Briar Hickling, from Thrive Trust, has been awarded $15,000 for the tiny house project in Taumarunui from the Vodafone Foundation Change Accelerator programme.

Hickling will work together with Paora Smallman, a graduate carpenter from UCOL, and other mentors for six weeks at the company's headquarters in Christchurch to explore the idea further.

"We've been exposed to lots of different thinking so when we come back here [Taumarunui] to work on the second prototype we have these different areas we can explore."

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Hickling said the idea came about because she wanted to relieve some of the cost young people faced when leaving home to study.

"We want to work with regional funders to have these little pods sponsored so anyone who offers a grant or scholarship has the potential to purchase one of these and slap their branding on it.

"It gets plugged in maybe on a marae or maybe using our social networks like a church or an elderly person who needs a bit of company and has a bit of time to share."

Meanwhile, skilled youth in Taumarunui who want to remain in the town would also have the opportunity to be paid to build the tiny houses.

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Hickling and Smallman would write up a business plan while in Christchurch and then return to Taumarunui to start building a self contained prototype.

After the prototype is built, Smallman will then decide if he will take on the business or continue with his studies.

The tiny house project is the first business scheme under the Community Hub which has been funded from Momentum Waikato to help young people into business.

"The programme is about planning and testing and thinking outside the box. We're going to really try new technologies out and see how it works".

 - Stuff

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