Regional | Hauora

Christchurch safe haven for rangatahi has begun construction

The Youth Hub based in Central Christchurch will provide a one-stop shop for rangatahi who are seeking health and mental health services, social services, counselling, education and employment support.

The Christchurch-based initiative is looking to give rangatahi an opportunity to lead healthy and valued lives and Youth MP Ihorqangi Reweti Peters says this is a step in the right direction to ensure the safety of rangatahi.

“So what we know is there are many tamariki and rangatahi in the care of the state who are struggling, who are in crisis and need intervention to protect them and protect others. So in terms of Oranga Tamariki care this youth hub will have a major impact on them in a positive way," Peters says.

From 2009 till the last year, Māori top the charts in suicide rates but by nurturing and helping the youth the hopes are that the tides will change.

Youth Line worker Ataahua Hepi, who manages calls about youth needs, says this is an opportunity to show that rangatahi are important and have a safe place with people who care.

“I think if we continue to grow and support one another it's only for the benefit of our young people,” Hepi says.

A place to go to

The Youth Hub will have a mixture of resources to assist young people such as health and mental well-being facilities, education and employment aid. There are also plans for 22 homes for accommodation for those who are eager to further their education or seek employment.

Peters says he is supportive of the initiative and is happy to see change for the betterment of the future.

“Looking at this Youth Hub I am loving the idea that, when young people are struggling, they have a place they can go to that they feel safe and that they can trust the people that are making sure they are safe,” he says.

South Island charity, the Rata Foundation donated $500,000 to aid the first steps of construction but the team’s leaders hope to see this service grow around the country.

'Accessible to everyone'

Youth Hub Trust chair Dame Sue Bagshaw says the hub will stand as a place accessible to everyone.

“I think the whole vision for the Hub is to empower young people, to bring together the organisations but also activities in one place so you don't have to look, you don't have to have transport and there is no cost.”

Bagshaw says she hopes that these places will create a nurturing environment for those who will become future leaders.