Tue, May 17, 2022 10:56 AM

Youthline opening Marlborough centre


Max Frethey

Youthline is setting up a centre in Marlborough.

Historically, Youthline operations in the region have been run out of Christchurch.

“The Christchurch centre was thriving enough that they could divert some of their resources,” Blenheim-based Youthline helpline counsellor Meg Martin says.

Youthline has subsequently branched out to both Marlborough and Nelson Tasman.

The widespread adoption of telecommunication and remote working by the country over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic has also made it easier for the Christchurch office to branch out.

“We’ve sort of adapted as an organisation to where we can support our councillors in a remote way,” Meg says. “We could get the right people in the right places without having to worry about transporting them to Christchurch every couple of weeks.”

Meg says the team they’re putting together for the Marlborough centre will have had first-hand experience of the typical challenges facing local young people.

“When they went about recruiting, they went about looking for people who knew about the challenges of growing up in smaller rural towns.”

The Marlborough Youth Trust on Kinross St in Blenheim hosts Youthline Wairau’s training screen.

Youth Trust manager Jo Lane is happy to have Youthline in their building.

“It’s very new off the ground in Marlborough, it’s exciting to see it starting,” she says.

Jo says that when she started at the Youth Trust, many young people in the region hadn’t heard about Youthline.

“They didn’t even know it was available.”

So, Jo is happy to share their building with them and help to raise their profile in the region.

Youthline Wairau’s services will initially be limited to the 24/7 free helpline as well as school programmes and workshops while they put together a full team of dedicated volunteers.

Meg is also a mother to three children aged between 17 and 20 so the importance of a local organisation promoting youth wellbeing isn’t lost upon her.

“It’s fantastic,” she says. “I really wish there had been more in place when my kids were coming up through school. They know they can access these services but it’s a matter of finding them.”

In 2020, more than 11,000 clients called the Youthline helpline while 4,200 young people were supported through Youthline’s develop programmes.

Youthline can be contacted by phone at 0800 37 66 33 or free text at 243. They can also be emailed at talk@youthline.co.nz.

If you would like Youthline to present to your group, school, staff team, or organisation, you can contact Meg by email at meg@youthlinecsi.org.nz.

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