The stage one construction of Aotearoa’s first purpose-built Youth Hub has been significantly boosted with a $500,000 grant from the Rātā Foundation.
Located on Salisbury Street in central Christchurch, the Hub will provide a ‘one-stop shop’ for rangatahi that includes health and mental health services, social services, counselling, and educational and employment support. Stage one also includes 22 supported housing units for young people aged 16 to 24, provided they are actively looking for education, training or work.
“Rangatahi who have had a rough start in life currently don’t know where to go to get the help they need,” Youth Hub Trust Chair Dame Sue Bagshaw says.
“We want the Youth Hub to be a place where all young people can come to meet others, gain confidence and overcome loneliness which is a key factor in the declining rates of youth mental health and wellbeing.
“The Rātā Foundation has supported our work for a long-time, and we share a commitment to help break down the barriers that exist for young people so that they can free themselves from a cycle of adversity and achieve their potential.
”We’re incredibly grateful for Rātā’s support which is instrumental in getting the Hub’s supported housing facilities and office block for a dozen youth service providers to be co-located on-site completed by mid next year.”
New Zealand’s largest survey of young people, Youth-19, found that one in five high school students could not see a health professional when needed and that depression and suicide ideation had increased. The report recommended improvement priorities, including ‘one-stop-shops’ for rangatahi, where they can access healthcare and other services. It also found that services available are not currently fit for purpose for young people – particularly for rainbow, Māori, Pasifika, and male youth.
Youthline is one of the providers moving into the Youth Hub next year and its Volunteer Coordinator, Ataahua Hepi says it will prevent young people from having to tell their story numerous times.
“A young person may walk in with more than just one problem and rather than having to do the phone calls or referrals, we can be like, ‘Oh actually, let’s just take a walk down the hall and talk to these people,’” Ataahua says.
The Youth Hub is committed to Mana Taiohi principles of youth development and honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
Rangatahi Whaiora, Ihorangi Reweti Peters said the Youth Hub will be able to fill a gap that was missing when he sought help.
“To have a space like the Youth Hub where I could go and korero with someone I can trust would have been life-changing. It’s important that Māori and Pasifika rangatahi have a place where they feel a sense of connection and belonging.”
Rātā Foundation Chief Executive Leighton Evans says the Youth Hub’s kaupapa of supporting and empowering rangatahi meets a significant need for young people.
“The Youth Hub directly aligns with Rātā funding priorities to ensure communities in need have equitable access to the facilities, resources, and opportunities that allow them to thrive,” Mr Evans says.
“Undoubtedly, mental health is a considerable challenge in Aotearoa. A key focus area for Rātā is to tautoko our young people by providing long overdue quality mental health services and youth development initiatives in Ōtautahi.
“It is exciting to have a facility that has been designed with the future of our young people in mind. It will not only provide immediate support in the health and housing space, it will also nurture education, recreation, and cultural development. It is setting our rangatahi up for long-term success.”
More than 8000 young people between 10 and 24 are expected to walk through the Hub’s doors annually. The grant from the Rātā Foundation supports the ground preparation phase of the project.
Other major funders include Anglican Care who gifted use of the central city site and Government funding of $18.1 million under the Infrastructure Reference Group programme.
The total project budget for Stage One of the Youth Hub is $19.6 million. Stage one of the Youth Hub includes a supported housing wing of 22 bedrooms and offices for youth providers based onsite.
The following organisations have expressed interest in having offices on site including Te Tahi Youth (formerly 298 Youth Health), Youthline, Catapult employment services, Family Works, the Collaborative Trust, Qtopia, Community Law, Voyce, Nurse Maude school nurses, Te Kura, People First New Zealand, Comcol North Canterbury and the Youth Service.
The Youth Hub Trust continues to fundraise to fitout the facility, as well as for stage two which includes an apartment block with 5 apartments each with 2-3 bedrooms, a basketball courtyard, public cafe which will be used for training purposes, creativity, music, performance and events spaces, an art gallery, education and training areas and planter boxes and greenhouses on the roof.
Further information about the Youth Hub, including ways to donate, are available on its website here.