Organisation helping young people with disabilities, StarJam, launches urgent appeal amid closure threat

  • 02/04/2024

A leading nationwide not-for-profit organisation helping young people with disabilities is facing closure unless it receives urgent financial support.

StarJam will be forced to close its workshops in just two weeks if it doesn't get the funding to keep running.

On Tuesday, StarJam launched an appeal – hoping donors can save its programmes from the chopping block.

For 22 years, the organisation has been running programmes on music, dance and performance. The workshops are aimed at empowering young people, fostering inclusion and supporting the wellbeing of those with disabilities.

However, StarJam said it is now in a "critical situation" due to the escalating cost of living, increased operational expenses and reduced funding streams.

There's concern a possible closure would be "devastating" for the young people's personal growth, social connection and creative expression.

"One in five young New Zealanders is living with a disability, equating to approximately 150,000 young people navigating significant barriers in their lives," StarJam chief executive Gilli Sinclair said. 

"StarJam provides these young individuals with the opportunity to experience that 'different doesn't make you less,' fostering a culture of celebration for individual uniqueness."

Young people participating in a StarJam programme.
Young people participating in a StarJam programme. Photo credit: Supplied

StarJam has on Tuesday launched an emergency appeal for funding, with the goal of raising $100,000 to keep its programs operational. 

"We are calling upon our community, supporters, and allies to stand with us during this challenging time," Sinclair said. 

"Your contributions can help ensure that StarJam continues to be a beacon of hope, inclusion, and empowerment for young people across New Zealand."

For those wanting to donate click here.