Christchurch’s Future Life Foundation Trust has established an innovative way for at-risk youth to gain self-esteem and enhance their employment opportunities – through a log-building project.

Young people are taught the specialised techniques used to construct log buildings, plus the care and handling of chainsaws.

Last year a dozen young men constructed the shell of a log building to head height, tutored by Graeme Mould of the Log Builders Association of NZ.

The participants all gained NZQA standards in chainsaw proficiency as well as a great sense of pride in their accomplishments, says Dick Maskill, originator of the project.

“You would not believe the effect it has had on them. The work is quite demanding, but by applying themselves they’ve gained an immense boost in self-esteem. One has carried on to further experience in the log-building industry, while several others have improved their career situations.”

For the project, the Future Life Foundation worked in conjunction with the Bluelight Canterbury Youth Development Programme Trust, a movement set up to help young offenders turn their lives around.  “We couldn’t carry the project on our own,” says Maskill, “but its aims fit perfectly with those of the CYDP.”

Stage Two of the pilot building programme, scheduled for January 2010, is to complete the log shell through to the roof structure. On completion, it will be used as a display building to gain orders for similar buildings from community organisations.  Several organisations have already expressed interest in buying such a building.

Future Life Foundation Trust received Tindall Foundation funding which was approved by the Christchurch Catholic Diocesan Welfare Council, acting as a Faith-based Funding Manager.

For further information contact:

Dick Maskill, Future Life Foundation Trust