The dream of Aotearoa New Zealand’s first, purpose-built, one-stop-shop to support youth health and well-being is now a massive step closer to reality, with construction work finally underway on the Christchurch Youth Hub.
“I can’t quite believe it’s finally happening – we could not be more excited, proud and grateful to have “boots on the ground” and diggers at work after ten long years of planning, persistence and fundraising,” says Youth Hub Trust Chair Dame Sue Bagshaw.
It’s been a decade-long fight for Dame Sue and the Trust to get the Hub project off the ground and find a permanent post-quake location to house wrap-around care and support services for the city’s youth.
“We owe so many people thanks for helping us get this far. We know it’s just the start, with a major challenge ahead to find the millions more needed to see all the proposed facilities up and running, but to be able to see actual building work on-site is thrilling.
“Getting to today would not have been possible without the support of Anglican Care who gifted us the use of the central city site, the generosity of wonderful individual donors and local organisations, plus a pivotal $12.5 million in Government funding to help realise phase one of the project. This will encompass the main building to house medical and social services as well as the supported housing wing.”
Youth Hub Christchurch will house the country’s first youth health and social services facility with additional on-site supported living accommodation. Several key organisations will work together to deliver services for Christchurch’s young people, including mental health, medical, educational, employment and training, recreation, creativity and social entrepreneurship.
“What sets the Youth Hub apart is its supported housing facilities. These will be able to accommodate 40 young people for anywhere from three to eighteen months, during which time they’ll be assisted with their health, employment, catch-up education and given the vital support they need to transition into independent living,” says Dame Sue.
Demolition of the old bowling clubrooms and remediation of the soil on the Salisbury Street site is now well underway. Taggart Civil Construction is leading this work with generous voluntary support from Maugers Contracting.
Once the site is cleared in 2-3 months, the foundations will be drilled, before Naylor Love begins work on the buildings.
“Naylor Love is proud to be a part of the Christchurch community and provide assistance with the development of the Youth Hub. We look forward to getting construction underway to develop these fantastic facilities, which will serve the young people of this city for decades to come,” says Naylor Love’s South Island Managing Director Graeme Earl.
Dame Sue says the Christchurch City Council has been very supportive throughout – with building consent on- track to be granted by November.
The Youth Hub Trust continues to fundraise for the additional $17.5 million needed to fully complete the facility.
“With construction costs and inflation rising by the day, we now need to raise the additional funds to enable stage two of the project – the building of sixteen apartments, a creative arts centre, recreation space and rooftop vegetable gardens. This money will also ensure the facility has appropriate accessibility features and is built in the most environmentally sustainable way,” Dame Sue says.
“Once everything is finished, we’ll boast a facility for our young people which is not only unique in Aotearoa New Zealand, but internationally too. It will be a facility all Canterbury residents can be justifiably proud of.”