The Youth Team

Richard Elvey

Richard hails from the heart of the East End of London, and has always had a passion for both working with young people and organising events. By the time he went to University to study theatre design in 1999, he was already organising club nights and small outdoor events as well as DJ’ing around the South East of England. In 2001 Richard began working in the events industry, working his way up to the role of Crew boss and Assistant Artistic Director, being heavily involved in huge shows like the Brit Awards, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Bon Jovi tours.  

During this time he began to work with troubled young men in the Greater London area, visiting both care homes and secure units as a Youth Advocate and Independent visitor. The work was as challenging as it was rewarding.  

Gradually his youth work grew and at the end of 2005, he changed career to begin working as a special needs assistant in secondary schools, focusing mainly on behavioural issues and worked as an assistant Youth Worker at a local club as well as continuing his work in the care homes of London.  

Richard began working part time for Kahu Youth in 2007, gradually increasing his involvement and hours until January 2009 when he went full time. Now with a level 6 Diploma in youth work under his belt and as an accredited youth work assessor with the NZQA, he uses his experience to add large scale youth events and activities to the activities Kahu Youth offers the young people of the Upper Clutha region.  


Claire 'Frenchy' French
Claire French goes by her preferred nickname 'Frenchy' and is originally from Manchester in the UK. She has worked with and had a passion for youth work since school where she set up dance and drama groups in her lunchbreaks and after school. After a degree in community arts at the Paul McCartney fame school Frenchy spent the first part of her career working with youth in the social work field. This included work with young carers, care leavers and even youth working on a community radio station!
Frenchy found hoopdance as a hobby whilst working in the UK and this eventually led to her becoming a hoopdance teacher and performer. This lead to years of touring around the world working at festivals and managing events and eventually led her to New Zealand. Frenchy started her journey in NZ project managing a tour with a fire performance troupe and then settled in Wellington for 5 years doing support work with youth, managing a circus and doing social circus projects - an area she is super passionate about. She set up a trust called 'The Community Arts and Circus Trust New Zealand' and started to run and work at festivals around the country including 'Under The Spinfluence' - a community circus festival. 
Frenchy built her own tiny house, which she moved to Wanaka in early 2017, and she's enjoying this next exciting chapter in her majikal life! Frenchy offers heaps of interests and skills, event management, circus and fire and an extensive social work and youth work background to the epic things already happening at the Kahu Youth Trust and is super excited, grateful and appreciative for the chance to work with such an amazing team, awesome youth and supportive community!