Funding woes put Youthline clinic at risk of closing

Funding woes put Youthline clinic at risk of closing

A health service for at-risk youth in central Auckland may be forced to shut its doors in the next couple of weeks if it can't secure more funding.

The Youthline health service has helped hundreds of young people who say they would otherwise have slipped through the cracks.

A teenager who spoke to Newshub didn't want to be identified, but she wanted to talk about Youthline. She says she doesn't want to think where she would be without it.

"I would probably be homeless if it wasn't for this service -- a very desperate person probably," she says.

She went to the primary healthcare clinic when she had nowhere else to go, and it got her health and life on track, like so many other young people.

But unless it can get $50,000, it will close in two weeks, leaving many youth stranded.

"Homeless young, young people from the GLBTI community, young people who don't access healthcare so easily," says clinic worker Shae Ronald.

The clinic was initially opened because there was no other service like it for youth in central Auckland. The money originally came from an overseas investor but now in order to keep it open they're having to look elsewhere for more funding.

The District Health Board didn't respond to our questions about the service, but the service says it has applied for funding and isn't confident it will get it.

Doctors at the clinic have helped to diagnose some serious health issues.

"In one case a young person we referred them through to a neurologist, and they were diagnosed as having a really rare neurological condition that had affected their whole life," says Ms Ronald.

And for the young woman Newshub spoke with, it was the atmosphere that put her at ease.

"A lot of people have helped me here. It's a very friendly environment, not like a doctor's at all."

Youthline is fundraising on its website and says it hopes public support can keep the clinic open.