$10m Christchurch youth hub takes major step forward

An artist's impression of the development. Photo: Supplied
An artist's impression of the development. Photo: Supplied
Plans for a purpose-built youth hub in Christchurch have taken a major step forward with resource consent being approved.

"We are absolutely thrilled with this wonderful news," said Youth Hub Trust chairwoman Dame Sue Bagshaw.

"This is the green light we've been hoping and waiting for to begin the next exciting phase in the project's development. We are so enthusiastic about what the hub will deliver for young people in this city, many of whom have been through so much in the past decade, from earthquakes to the mosque attack and now Covid-19."

Once built, the youth hub, Te Hurihanga Ō Rangatahi, will be a communal place of growth, support and wellbeing for 10-25-year-olds, she said,

It will be based in the heart of central Christchurch and will provide support services including access to catch-up education, healthcare, mental health counselling, vocational training, recreation and employment.

The development will provide onsite, purpose-built accommodation for up to 40 young people in need aged 16-24.

Most will stay from 3-18 months at a time, providing they are involved in formal education or actively looking for work, Bagshaw said.

"We hope they will transition from the planned shared hostel rooms into our three-bedroom townhouses, where they'll be given mental and social support from qualified, live-in residential staff.

"They'll learn cooking, cleaning and social living skills to help them progress to a future independent flatting environment."

The centre will provide space for about 12 different youth organisations including 298 Health Centre, YouthLine, Qtopia and the Christchurch City Mission.

An acre of land on Salisbury St was specifically purchased for the project by Anglican Care and will be leased back to the youth hub trust to build and run the facility.

Ciaran Fox, mental health promotion strategist for the Mental Health Foundation/CDHB All Right? programme, said the hub will be a place not just for help but for hope.

"There's serious pressure on mental health services in our city and a growing understanding that we need more.

"It's exciting that our youth-in-need will soon have a safe place to visit where they'll be fully respected and supported to find the resources and develop the resilience they need. We hope this support will also serve as a preventative measure to stop mental health issues escalating in our most vulnerable young people."

The project also received a $10 million kick-start from the Government's $3 billion Covid-19 Response and Recovery Fund.

"That generous investment is around half of what we ultimately need to make the youth hub a reality.

"We're now going full steam ahead to fundraise the rest."

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