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More help available for young people in distress

Fri, 24 Sep 2004

More help available for young people in distress

Youthline's GSK Global Community Partnership grant is paying dividends for New Zealand's young people with a massive increase in the charity's ability to provide guidance and assistance to young people in need. The $600,000 GSK grant is enabling Youthline counsellors to answer more calls to the 0800 help line than ever before as a result of new technology linking the 11 centres around the country.

The three-year grant was awarded in 2003 through GSK's Global Community Partnerships fund. In addition to helping fund the technology the grant has meant Youthline can develop youth programmes, train more volunteer counsellors and gain NZQA accreditation.

Last year the organisation estimated 200,000 calls were made to the helpline, but counsellors answered only 20,000. The main reasons were calls being made out of hours and busy phone lines. Now thanks to the 24-7 technology there has been an 80 percent drop in missed calls.

According to Youthline national spokesman, Stephen Bell: "Youthline is now significantly closer to reaching its vision of providing guidance and assistance to any young person seeking help through the helpline. Now young people have a much greater chance of reaching a counsellor. The next step is to train more counsellors so we can move further forward towards our goal of providing the Youth Help Line 24 hours a day seven days a week. Once this is done Youthline believes any young person calling the helpline will find themselves talking to a fully trained counsellor no matter what time of the day or night it is."

Lisa Bright, Vice president and managing director, GlaxoSmithKline New Zealand, added: "It has been fantastic to be able to provide Youthline with the funding they need to help realise their dream. The organisation is totally dedicated to helping young New Zealanders reach their potential, and the organisation is known and trusted by the young people who use it."

GSK Global Community Partnerships supports organisations whose goals and objectives reflect GSK's mission of improving the quality of human life. In the Asia Pacific region, GSK's Global Community Partnerships 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.

ENDS

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