Switched-on solutions for the Youth and Cultural Development Society

With the latest technology, it often seems that the younger you are, the more important it is. For the Youth and Cultural Development Society YCD), this called for switched-on solutions.

The YCD has grown since its drop-in centre days in the '90s, and now provides a wide range of youth-focused social services all over the Christchurch region. These services focus on helping disaffected youth find their way in the world.

The team at YCD helps young people develop essential life skills. As team members are travelling around Christchurch daily to meet with young people, it's important that their technology is up to date.

The team at the Christchurch Spark Business Hub focuses on understanding customer’s organisations, and so arranged for a Tech Review. This review resulted in the introduction of a range of new systems. To ensure the safety of their team, YCD now has vehicle tracking on their fleet of vehicles. This works alongside a "check-in" system that monitors staff safety. Both these pieces of technology give team leaders that extra peace of mind.

As a non-governmental organisation, YCD liaises with funding bodies, local councils and government departments. To streamline paperwork and ensure accountability, the team at YCD uses Microsoft 365, which provides collaborative tools that make delivering reports from the road easier. Using Microsoft Teams has also helped with everyday tasks. From collaborating on presentations and projects to keeping teams up to date, Microsoft Teams has been a gamechanger.

"It's a fantastic tool – I don’t know how we lived without it", says Melody, team leader at YCD. "We can get information out to everyone at once, check-in with each other, check-in with the team." But it’s not just about keeping their staff safe and connected. A big part of the outreach workers’ role is helping young people connect with their future; without phones or WiFi at home, many young people rely on the YCD team to help them. "YCD is now able to offer an open WiFi network that their guests can access, without worrying about security compromises their important data."

Another major focus for YCD is delivering online events. These events create a sense of community, cultural belonging and a positive place to inspire local young people. It's important for YCD to have a strong social media presence so it can reach its audience and stream these online events. Social media has also been an important lifeline for young people. During COVID-19 restrictions, social media helped to provide a sense of connection for youth. The local Spark team has made sure YCD has gear and coverage that’s up to the job. The Spark team has even helped provide giveaways to make the events just that extra bit special.

With YCD finding new ways to connect and deliver their youth services, it’s not just promising for their future, but also the future of young people in Christchurch.

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