Aotearoa's first purpose-built Youth Hub in Christchurch has secured enough funding to complete its first stage of construction - thanks to a $1 million donation from The Wayne Francis Charitable Trust.
The hub promises to be a one-stop shop for youth services - from housing to health to employment.
"Well, we hope it'll be a youth one-stop shop on steroids," said Youth Hub Trust chair Dame Sue Bagshaw.
The facility will provide wraparound support with housing, health services, counselling, education and employment all in one place.
"Not just for health though, the most important bit is for creativity and recreation events so people can learn to get on with each other and can learn to get confidence that they need for employment," Dame Sue said.
And the dream is one step closer to becoming a reality - with a $1 million donation from the Wayne Francis Charitable Trust.
"We consider that it's a pretty strategic investment in our young people and their wellbeing and the city as well," said trust chair Helena Francis.
The first stage due to be completed mid-next year, will have offices for youth providers and 22 supported bedrooms, giving young people a place to call home.
"It's important that rangatahi have a sense of connection and a sense of hope, but most importantly also a sense that they belong," said Youth Hub Trust youth advocate Ihorangi Reweti Peters.
Almost one in four young people in New Zealand report high levels of mental distress and the number of students leaving high school with level one NCEA or higher is declining, according to the Salvation Army State of the Nation survey in February 2023.
But Dame Sue believes the Youth Hub will be a catalyst for change.
"We like to think it's going to be a real turning point in their lives so they can actually contribute even more than they do now. So, they can contribute now and in the future of Aotearoa," she said.
Creating a blueprint to support rangatahi like never before.