Youth worker’s job started in lockdown


While many of us recently had the unusual experience of doing their job from home, it was doubly strange for those starting out in a new position.

This was the case for youth worker Sarah Caudwell, who became the newest addition to the Clutha Youth Development Programme at the start of March.

“I’ve spent most of my employment in lockdown and it’s definitely a hard time to start somewhere,” Mrs Caudwell said.

But she has not been sitting on her laurels, creating a Facebook page with her colleague Margaret Cardno to reach out to young people during lockdown.

She said it was going very well.

“I couldn’t believe it one day I saw a post that already had more than 2000 views and I just thought ‘Wow’.”

The youth worker said it was important to keep up with the times in reaching her core demographic of young people.

“I’m not about Facebook. I don’t really have many friends on there . . .so it’s great to see that people actually are checking it out and are looking.”

Mrs Caudwell grew up in Auckland, but had travelled extensively, and decided she preferred life in rural towns.

“I was a nanny for a good 10 years working with children and their families.’’

‘‘Before studying social work I was living in Southland and was on a farm for about a year with a family with four children,” Mrs Caudwell said.

She said while her experience growing up in the city instructed her in what young people go through, many support facilities were available to her that she was concerned might be less accessible to rural youth.

“It’s come full circle really . . .

‘‘I’m happy to be able to help these kids through school and into adulthood gain the skills they need for life.”

The work already done by the Clutha District Council was a significant reason for Mrs Caudwell taking the role.

“It’s encouraging seeing the resources available and the way many projects are youth›led and community› led.”