An initiative geared to helping build life skills and confidence in young people has been given a $90,000 boost.
Marlborough Lines will sponsor the CACTUS (Combined Adolescent Challenge Training Unit Support) programme in Blenheim and Picton.
Over the next three years, staff have pledged to fund $30,000 a year.
Marlborough Lines chief executive Tim Cosgrove says the programme is a good fit with the company’s ideals.
“It has a good spread across the region and is really youth-focused… the programme is already in place, it’s well-run and has clearly demonstrated results.
“It’s the sort of thing we’re proud to support and commit to.”
More than 650 young people have taken part in the eight-week course since 2008.
Three mornings a week, participants take part in intensive training between 6am and 7am, building up to the Longest Day, when all their skills are put together in a series of exercises.
Marlborough Youth Trust trustee and police officer Dean Buckley says the proof of CACTUS’ success is its longevity.
“If it wasn’t as successful, it wouldn’t be going still.”
He says the course helps youth in all aspects, improving their resilience and teamwork among other things.
“It’s quite powerful on the CV as well. Often young people don’t have much to put on their CV, but this is great.
“Employers see this young person has a bit of go, a bit of commitment.”
Youth mentor Reuben Molnar says CACTUS is an “awesome” programme.
“From day one, to the finish of the programme, huge improvements in self-confidence, fitness levels, and building a connection, building a tribe, and able to connect into other things we do, events and other activities.”
Marlborough Youth Trust chair Russell Smith says the course really has a long-lasting effect.
“This sponsorship will give certainty to a programme that we know has results. It means our staff time can be put into things we want to be doing like youth development rather than chasing their tails to find finance to make things work,” he says.