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What’s Up Thrown A Lifeline By White Pages®

28 July 2004

What’s Up Thrown A Lifeline By White Pages®

White Pages® has stepped in to save New Zealand’s only free, professional counselling phone line for children, What’s Up.

The Kids Help Foundation Trust, which runs the service, said the new sponsorship means What’s Up now has a more secure future.

What’s Up faced closure in May, after two other sponsors concluded their relationship with the service in 2003. Foundation corporate sponsors Kellogg’s and Griffin’s Foods remained supportive but additional long-term funding was required to continue the service.

Formerly known as The Telephone Book, White Pages joins Griffin’s and Kellogg’s as one of the ‘family of three’ corporate sponsors behind What’s Up.

Children’s organisation Barnardos also joins the What’s Up family in a partnership providing operational support. Barnardos Chief Executive Murray Edridge says he is delighted to work with a number of significant commercial organisations for the continuation and growth of What’s Up.

“We believe in the value of What’s Up in supporting children, and look forward to developing the service to meet the ongoing needs of New Zealand’s young people,” says Mr Edridge. “Establishing this innovative relationship between the commercial and community sectors and government is an excellent way to make this happen.”

What’s Up receives around 500 calls every day from children and young people throughout New Zealand aged 5 to 18.

Staffed by eight paid, professionally trained and supervised counsellors and three supervisors, What’s Up’s confidential lines are open noon to midnight, seven days a week.

Trust executive director Grant Taylor says that since What’s Up announced in March that it was facing closure, it had received a lot of enthusiastic support for its service and a number of organisations had rallied around it.

“Thanks to the sponsorship of White Pages and operational support of Barnardos, What's Up now has a more stable future and we owe them our thanks,” says Taylor. “We also would not have survived without the unwavering and steadfast support of our foundation corporate sponsors Kellogg’s and Griffin’s, and the critical bridging funding we received from the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services.”

Taylor adds that Associate Minister of Social Development and Employment and Minister responsible for Child, Youth and Family, Ruth Dyson, had been particularly supportive of What’s Up’s services continuing.

“This has been a popular and valued service for young people, which we acknowledged with some funding in May. I am delighted now that the future of the What’s Up service is more secure with this new sponsorship,” says Ruth Dyson.

New corporate sponsor White Pages will provide more than financial support.

“Over the time we have been in talks with What’s Up, our staff have been deeply impressed by the reach and depth of understanding What’s Up has into the lives of New Zealand’s kids,” says Yellow Pages general manager Roger Shipp. “It’s staffed by committed and caring professionals. And it’s well-used by young people.”

“We became convinced What’s Up would be an excellent fit for White Pages when we learnt that a significant number of kids’ calls relate to relationship issues with peers, family and friends,” adds Shipp. “So in a real way What’s Up is all about connecting people and being there when you’re needed, and that’s what the White Pages is all about too.”

“On top of the funding we’ll provide, we’re able to support What’s Up by taking on the responsibilities for telecommunication services, obviously critical to a telephone-based counselling service,” says Shipp. “Furthermore through our directory brands White Pages, Yellow Pages®, and Local Directories™ we hope to effectively raise the profile of What’s Up. Research shows that What’s Up is well-known to children and young people but not so well known to the adults in their lives. So we think that’s an area where we can help.”

What’s Up costs more than $750,000 a year to run.

Griffin's Foods managing director Tony Nowell said he was delighted that White Pages had joined the corporate family of three and that What's Up’s future was now on a firmer footing.

"Griffin's has been with What's Up from the very beginning. We were a foundation sponsor more than two years ago because we believe that What's Up provides a very important service to hundreds of Kiwi kids every day.”

"Thanks to the ongoing commitment of Griffin's and Kellogg’s and now the additional backing of White Pages and Barnardos, closure has been avoided. We look forward to working with the new sponsors to improve What's Up even more," says Mr Nowell.

Grant Taylor says What’s Up fulfils an important need in New Zealand’s youth services.

“It fills many gaps in what is otherwise available for children and young people. For instance, we provide a consistent, supportive relationship for children in state care and professional help for primary and intermediate school children who do not have access to a school counsellor.”

ENDS

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