Seed Waikato's Chair Report 2018-2019

Looking back at the last twelve months, it’s remarkable to reflect on the achievements of our volunteers who have powered our movement, contributing over 2,800 hours collectively. We have been overwhelmed with the response young people have had to our organisation, and we’re proud to have grown our revenue by 298% on the previous year, moving towards a sustainable organisations in which young people thrive. We have created a space for the needs and aspirations of young people in our community to be shared and heard, engaging with over 1,100 young people.

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Right now, we are seeing the highest rates of youth suicide on record, concern around skills needed for the future of work, and low levels of youth representation in decision making. And with 22% of the Waikato aged 18-35, we need to understand how we can uplift the unique strengths of our generation to connect, contribute and engage.  The need is huge. And we’re proud to be working as a catalyst for change in this space, responding to opportunities as they arrive in a dynamic way. 

What sets Seed Waikato apart is that we don’t do to young people, we do with young people. We celebrate what makes us unique, build on our strengths, identify our aspirations and work together to create solutions that meet our needs. This past year has been a time to listen, understand, and investigate how we can empower young people to unleash their true potential. 

We're pleased to have established meaningful relationships across the Waikato with other organisations serving youth, understanding the gaps, and identifying how we can work together around outcomes we are all passionate about transforming.  

The Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction saw us convene 11 local youth organisations to make a formal submission on behalf of 130 rangatahi. Together we acknowledged that support from whānau when reaching out for help is so important, and when some reach out to the crisis teams, the response from them is encouraging. However, many young people don’t know where to go to seek support, or when they do access support, many have a negative experience. Many young people feel that there is a massive stigma attached to speaking up to employers, friends, and whānau about their challenges. Young people wanted to see more holistic support, education, time and community built around those needing support before things turn into crisis. We want a society that normalises, accepts and supports mental wellbeing. 

The impact from our pilot, House of Learning, created valuable learning for participants on building skills and tools to improve wellbeing. Kendyl Morris spearheaded an innovative content programme, offering a self-directed six-week course on resilience with 15 diverse young people. The insights from this programme will inform how we scale this programme of mahi in 2020, ensuring we reach those who need us most in this challenging time for young people experiencing mental distress. We’d like to acknowledge Len Reynolds Trust for their leadership in funding this pilot. 

Our events and workshops have created a place of belonging for diverse groups of young people to come together, connect and grow. Across 10 events, we connected with more than 1,100 young people and invited in local, national and international leaders to speak about topics such as purpose, vulnerability, expression, and potential. Hosting international keynote speaker Daniel Flynn, Co-founder and Managing Director of Thankyou, was a highlight for many. Most importantly though, these events built community connectedness and improved the wellbeing of young people.  

We were donated an office building indefinitely on Victoria Street, and with the generosity of 13 local businesses, and 39 volunteers, we transformed the space into an affordable space for young people to co-work from. We have since moved out of this space due to the building being sold, but thanks to the generosity of Fosters Construction, are now located at Creators, who have welcomed us warmly. 

We have achieved remarkable things with very limited resources, and that is thanks to the following individuals and organisations. 

Thank you to the sponsors who supported us to move into our co-working space: BDC Paints, Beames Painting ProfessionalsFeisst Electrical, Fosters ConstructionLightwire, Livewire HR, McCaw Lewis, Robert Malcolm, University of Waikato, United Cleaning, PDW Flooring, Print House

Thank you to our Advisory Group who provided support over the last year as we have navigated establishing a youth-led movement: Natasha Harvey, Raewyn Kirkman, Tipa Mahuta, Lehi Duncan, Zaynel Sushil, Ben Scott, and Greg Johnston.  

Thank you to our incredible event speakers who gifted their time to inspire and empower our community: Amy McLean, Barbara Kuriger (MP), Briony McKenzie, Brooke van Velden, Cheryl Reynolds, Daniel Flynn, Danae Cooney, Darroch Ball (MP), Debbie Preston, Donna Pokere Philips, Drikus Conradie, Holly Bennett, Jake Campus, Jamie Strange (MP), Jason Dawson, Louise Hutt, Loryn Engelsman, Margi Moore, Maryana Garcia, Michelle Baillie, Mitchell Vincent, Nikki Kennedy, Pati Solomona Tyrell, Rachel Afeaki-Taumoepeau, Raewyn Kirkman, Dr Rogena Sterling, Rosalie Norton, Sarah Nathan, Shelley Campbell, and Sam Taylor. 

Thank you to our event sponsors who enabled our community to grow: Alsco, Des Neilson Photography, Carlton Party Hire, Cultivate IT, Hamilton City Council, Hearth Grocer and Juice Bar, HSB Government Relations, IT Partners, MHB Photography, Momentum Waikato, Ramen Events, Soda Inc., Sam Wright Visuals, Sarskia Melville, Tompkins WakeTalkingTech Foundation, Ultrafast FibreUShare, Waikato Innovation Park, and Waikato Students Union

Thank you to our operational sponsors for your ongoing support providing in-kind services: Dynamic MediaInkdrop Design Co, Metro Marketing, and PKF.  

Thank you to our funders who enabled us to serve young people the way we have: ANZ Staff Foundation, Hamilton City Council, Len Reynolds Trust, NAR Foundation, The Good Registry, Trust Waikato, and WEL Energy Trust

Thank you to our payroll giving donors, monthly donors and one-off donors for your financial contribution, powering our movement. 

Thank you to the inspiring people who pledged their birthday or ran fundraising events to support our movement via our partnership with The Good Registry: Hana Blundell, Jesse Major, Joseph Monise, Rachel Bauer and William Revelo. 

Thank you to our outgoing permanent volunteers who gifted their time and passion, contributing to co-creating our movement: Anna Sloan, Cassidy Temese, Chelsea Connell, Cindi O’Sullivan, Esther Burnett, Holly Bennett, Joseph Monise, Kendyl Morris, Michaela Latimer, and Stacey Fifield. 

Thank you to our incoming permanent volunteers for their energy and leadership in building momentum: Angela March, Abby Van De Ven, Brittney Benn, Caitlin Roa, Celine Kao, Chantelle Cobby, Chloe Bell, Isaac Kerr, Josephine Makuden, Laura Fifield, Maryana Garcia, Naveen Singh, and Rachel Bauer. 

Finally, thank you so much to the young people of the Waikato who have decided the time is now to make a change. Thank you those of you who found the courage to connect when you were battling anxiety, to those who were struggling to find hope but believed there was more for you ahead, to those who applied themselves to new learnings, to those who have found new friends, to those who found purpose, to those who chose to speak up on issues you care about, to those who put yourselves forward for opportunities you want to make a difference in, to those who started volunteering, to those who found a mentor, to those who got rid of the toxic people in your life...you are the reason we exist. Your stories fuel our mission, and we’re blown away by the impact you are creating.

We have a significant opportunity as we move forward to uplift young people across the Waikato with innovative partnerships and programmes. There is plenty of work ahead, but together we will create transformational change with and for young people.  

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Ngaa mihi nui, 

Gemma Major | Chair & Co-founder