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Plugging The Youth Accomodation Gap

7th May 2002
Matter of Fact Communications

Worries about affordable accommodation should soon be a thing of the past for groups of young people visiting the City of Sails.

On Wednesday 15h May, Auckland's Mayor, the Hon. John Banks QSO will officially open Youthtown Lodge, a unique accommodation facility located close to the city's heart.

The architecturally-designed unit, wholly reserved for group accommodation, has been built over the entrance of Youthtown's headquarters in Nelson Street at a cost of $425,000.

"Youthtown Lodge will plug a huge gap in accommodation provision for young people from all over New Zealand. We're very grateful to all our generous supporters whose donations have made this new development possible," says Youthtown's Executive Director, Jeremy Sutton-Pratt.

" For far too long, organised groups have had to choose between either not visiting the nation's largest city or staying a considerable distance away from its centre and from most points of interest.

"There have even been cases of school groups from the central North Island driving all the way to Auckland and back in the course of one day for want of overnight accommodation. It's hard to imagine anyone deriving much value from so brief a time in our city," he says.

Youthtown Lodge is intended to serve a very wide range of youth groups visiting Auckland, be it for sport, urban adventure, school, cultural, social or other activities.

The overnight charge per person has been set at $15 per head including GST. Guests will be free to use the building's established facilities, including a 25 metre heated pool, gym, Learning Centre and recreation rooms.

Major attractions within easy reach of Youthtown Lodge include the New Zealand National Maritime Museum, the Auckland War Memorial Museum, MOTAT, the Aotea Centre, the Auckland Art Gallery and Kelly Tarlton's Antarctic Encounter and Underwater World.

Equipped with new bunks as well as showers, toilets and a coin operated washing machine and dryer, Youthtown Lodge also has a chair lift from the ground floor and other facilities for guests with disabilities.

"Increasing numbers of young people from every part of Auckland are using Youthtown's services and facilities. We're very excited at the prospect of also providing a service to youngsters from the rest of New Zealand," says Jeremy Sutton-Pratt.

Youthtown's mission is "to bring the best out in kids". In addition to regular holiday programmes, the organization offers a wide range of sporting and leisure facilities along with a secure, drug-free and alcohol-free meeting place. It also collects youngsters direct from school, providing parents with the assurance that their children are in a safe environment.

Approximately 15% of Youthtown's operational costs are met by the Auckland City Council, whilst the remainder are drawn from individual bequests and donations as well as from affordable user charges.


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