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GlaxoSmithKline gives Youthline $660,000

GlaxoSmithKline gives Youthline $660,000

Auckland, Pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) will give Youthline $660,000 over the next three years to establish youth help services and build its volunteer team to 1000 nationwide for a planned 24-hour, seven-day Youth Help Line.

Youthline Director Stephen Bell said the GSK funding would help the well-established youth support agency to answer an additional 100,000 phone calls a year from distressed young New Zealanders. “We estimate that about 200,000 calls a year to Youthline go unanswered, so this will make a huge difference.”

Mr Bell said the Government’s Youth Development Strategy and Youth Health Action Plan were key platforms for moving New Zealand ahead and the GSK grant would enable Youthline to better support these initiatives.

“Youthline’s model of youth participation and development has stood the test of time and the GSK grant will enable Youthline to double the number of volunteers through special development programmes.

“Many surveys over the years have shown that for young people in distress the phone is a preferred means of seeking support,” said Mr Bell. “Through Youthline young people can access support that is relevant to them.”

He said Youthline’s major goal for years had been to establish a national 24-hour seven days a week Youth Help Line and the GSK funding would help make this a reality.

“This GSK funding is amazing. We now have funding for the technology that links our Youthline centres across the country and to train the volunteers nationwide.

“GSK has been a fantastic sponsor of Youthline for many years. The company already funds the Youth Help Line 0800 freephone costs, promotional posters and brochures and fundraising activities. This new funding will enable us to reach so many more young people and bring them in to programmes to reach their potential.”

The new funding, to be provided over three years, comes from the GSK Global Community Partnerships Fund, through which the company partners with and supports organisations whose goals and objectives reflect its mission of improving the quality of human life. In the Asia Pacific region, GSK’s Global Community Partnerships function focuses on providing partnership funding for health education and mobilisation.

Global Community Partnerships donates about $3 million worldwide annually. Youthline was one of six organisations from more than 20 applicants around the world to receive funding.

GSK Vice President and Managing Director Lisa Bright said she was delighted the funding had been approved.

“It’s fantastic to be able to provide Stephen and his team with the funding they need to realise their dream. Stephen and his team of volunteers are totally dedicated to helping young New Zealanders reach their potential. Youthline is known and trusted by the young people who use its services.

“GSK and Youthline have worked together for over six years. The two organisations have similar values and goals. We are committed to creating a society where people live longer, healthier and more fulfilling lives. Like Youthline, GSK sees supporting young people as the first step.”

Mr Bell said the GSK funding would be used to develop the behind-the-scenes requirements for the 24x7 Youth Help Line including the telephone systems, the involvement of 1,000 skilled volunteers and New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) accreditation and development of youth education programmes.

“The need to have sufficient well trained people on the frontline has been a huge challenge. This will make it possible.”

As well as its core telephone helpline, Youthline offers face-to-face counselling, family therapy, leadership training and development programmes and youth seminars. Youthline also provides an on-line youth health information service http:// http://www.urge.co.nz, a very successful co-operative venture supported by a range of government departments, businesses and community organisations.

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