Youth trust seeks more funds

The Wakatipu Youth Trust, which runs the Youth Booth, desperately needs more funding or staff numbers could be cut back.

The trust made the plea in its submission to the Queenstown Lakes District Council's draft annual plan.

Three years ago the Wakatipu Youth Trust was formed through the amalgamation of the Queenstown Life Trust and the Wakatipu District Youth Trust.

Since then the ''capability and productivity of the trust has greatly improved'' and numbers attending the centre have nearly tripled, the trust's submission said.

Four youth workers are employed.

However, the down side of merging had been that ''some of the key sources of funding reduced their grant to the new trust, perceiving that merging should enable cost savings''.

''They did not consider the population growth in the area. Nor did they consider that merging would enable greater capability and reach in meeting the interests and needs of an increasing number of youth.''

The submission said that ''reserves are running out'' and ultimately ''the trust has to receive more funding or cut back on staff''.

The council was asked by the trust to increase its annual donation from $15,160, which covers half of the rent cost, to $30,320, to cover the total rent cost.

Appeals for funding had also been made to entities such as the Central Lakes Trust and the Community Trust of Southland.

''The trust is very reluctant to let go of any of the valuable staff, especially when the population of youth is growing and the number accessing the service is rapidly growing.''

The Youth Booth provides activities, mentoring and opportunities to the Wakatipu's young people aged between 11 and 25.

Letters of support for the work of the trust and its facilities at the Youth Booth were received from schools, the Southern District Health Board, the Salvation Army and others.

In its submission, the trust wrote ''our appeals for more assistance have been met so far''.

''This year, Lottery grants have provided an additional $5000 per annum and the Central Lakes Trust an additional $3750.

''We will hear from the Community Trust of Southland later this month.

''With these top-ups and if the council could cover the cost of the rent, the trust would be financially sustainable.''