Plans revealed for cutting edge central city youth hub

The plans for a new youth hub on Salisbury St in central Christchurch.
The plans for a new youth hub on Salisbury St in central Christchurch.

A purpose-built ‘one-stop-shop’ for youth health and well-being in central Christchurch has moved a step closer to being built.

Youth Hub Trust chairwoman Dame Sue Bagshaw said the finalised plans will soon be sent to the city council for resource consent.

Dame Sue said she is thrilled with the plans and the hub's progression.

“It’s been a year of really hard work to get to this stage,” she said.

“Field Studio of Architecture, Novo Group town planners and the wider team have delivered a vision for a fantastic space to support both youth service providers and the city’s young people in need, who’ll truly benefit from care given in such a therapeutic environment. We hope to be able to create a real sense of community for the site.”

Once built, the hub on Salisbury St will provide medical, mental health and social services, as well as activity spaces, a cafe and supported transitional accommodation for 23 young people.

Dame Sue said it will deliver a round-the-clock, supervised, holistic environment to support young people to overcome their difficulties and get well.

She said Christchurch youth, who were purposefully included in the design process, requested a "sanctuary-like and homely" atmosphere for the accommodation spaces in particular.

“We will have two experienced youth social workers living-in, on-site every night, providing professional 24-hour supervision to ensure a quiet and therapeutic environment for all.

“Young people will be kept busy, engaged and focussed on their care and recovery in a safe, holistic space.

"During the day doctors, counsellors, social workers and reception staff will also be on-site . . . as well as The Collaborative, Community Law, Youthline and QTopia, among others.”

“Importantly, we had a very constructive, open meeting with site neighbours on Saturday to listen to their feedback and views.  We are committed to working with them positively during the resource consent process.”

The trust took two years to find the site, which was purchased by Anglican Care in order to lease back to the trust.

The location was chosen as an affordable, non-commercial option, which will deliver a residential feel, close to local amenities.

Turanga library, Margaret Mahy Playground, the Bus Exchange and the future metro sports complex are all within walking distance.

The plans for the new facility will go to the Christchurch City Council as part of its resource consent application.Novo Group director and senior planner Jeremy Phillips said great care has been taken to ensure the Hub site - a former bowling club - fits seamlessly into the surrounding area. Acoustic, traffic engineering, urban design and landscaping experts were brought in to ensure the hub blends into its residential environment.

“The site’s central city location and its relationship with residential neighbours has been carefully considered, with advice from council staff and the urban design panel informing the design” he said.

“The result is a project which is sympathetic to its neighbours and delivers well-designed buildings on an established non-residential site."

Field Studio of Architecture director Andrew Just said it has been amazing to work on such a worthwhile project.

“We’re proud of how the design has been shaped with the feedback and desires of young people and the organisations which work so closely with them," Mr Just said.

“We sought to sensitively add to the context with trees and greenery, including market gardens, a high-quality terraced-house appearance on Gracefield Ave and a welcome-house and cafe facing the city and Salisbury St."

Inner-city urban vegetable farm, Cultivate, will also be part of the hub. Its organic vege plots and fruit trees are expected to occupy about one-third of the 4500 sq m site.

Said Cultivate co-founder Bailey Peryman: “We see the youth hub site as an opportunity for us to continue our connection and support of young people by teaching useful employment skills in the setting of an urban farm.

“Our organic produce will not only supply the youth hub and cafe, but will be available for farm gate sale to neighbours and the local community."

There will be on-site parking for about 20 vehicles and an arrangement has been made with Christchurch Casino for access to more.

“We have our fingers crossed we’ll gain resource consent approval from the council and community,” Dame Sue said.

“If successful, a massive task beckons, raising the $15-20 million needed to turn this dream for our city’s youth into reality."