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New hub a one-stop-shop for Cantab youth

youth hub
The hub will be built on the 4,456sqm site at 109 Salisbury Street.  Paul Willetts from Open2view

The facility planned by the Youth Hub Trust would provide mental health services, medical care, employment support, creative opportunities and accommodation for youth aged 10 to 25.

Anglican Care purchased the old Bowling Club at 109 Salisbury Street for $4million in November to give Youth Hub Trust a site for the complex.

A spokesperson for Anglican Care said it had been difficult for donors and sponsors to commit to the project before a site for the build had been confirmed.

"When Sue came to us, we wanted to support her," he said. "Anglican Care were very supportive of her ideas about helping the vulnerable and at-risk youth."

Youth Hub Trust chairwoman Sue Bagshaw estimated the build would cost around $10million but said she would "do what it takes" to make sure the hub is built to accommodate the needs of at-risk Canterbury youth.

Dr Bagshaw operates 298 Youth Health, an employment and healthcare organisation in Canterbury and is the director at 'Collaborative for Research and Training in Youth Health and Development'.

"42 per cent of the 1500 people who came to visit 298 Health between July 2014 and April 2015 had housing issues," she said. "We need to fill holes in services for young people."

City Councillor Aaron Keown said: "as a council we'll be fully supportive of this going ahead, it's just a matter of how much we can afford to put into it ourselves.

"For those that aren't involved in services like this it's hard to even know why they need to exist," he said.

"It's a part of society we really don't talk about a lot but we need to really look after. If you give them a helping hand at a young age, you can set them up for life."

Dr Bagshaw hopes the facility will be built within three years.

Organisations such as Catapult Employment and the White Elephant Trust have confirmed involvement in the project. 

Bagshaw said in addition to bringing together specialist welfare services, the proposed hub would hold 20 beds to accommodate youth in "transition to permanent housing" for up to eighteen months.

She said Youth Hub Trust was working with housing providers across the city to make sure low-cost rental housing "earmarked for young people" was available for them to move into.

Offices would be available for hire in the new hub, in addition to "hot-desks" for people seeking refugee or migrant advice.

Bishop Victoria Matthews would bless the site at 106 Salisbury Street on March 22 and launch the fundraising campaign.

All were welcome to attend.