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Increase In Text Messaging To Youthline

PRESS RELEASE
15 October 2008

Increase In Text Messaging To Youthline

Increasing numbers of young New Zealanders seeking counselling advice from Youthline are turning to their mobile phones to access the charity’s services.

Youthline’s Fundraising Coordinator, James Sutherland, said the organisation’s text counselling had experienced rapid growth since it was offered as a free service from the beginning of this year.

“Since we made that announcement, the number of texts we receive each month have more than trebled compared to last year when it was costing the mobile user to send a text. Since the beginning of this year, we have managed over 38,000 text messages.”

James said the charity which has just received a funding boost from the Sovereign Sunshine programme of over $15,000, would be looking to bolster the text service which runs from 8am to midnight alongside its 24 hour 0800 line.

“By offering a text counselling service, we believe we’ve made Youthline more accessible to the current technologically savvy youth population,” he said.

“However, it costs more than $80,000 annually to keep our sophisticated IT system up and running which allows trained counsellors to respond to calls, texts and emails we receive from all over the country. The donation from the Sovereign Sunshine programme will greatly assist us in handling the over 200,000 contacts we receive each year.”
Since the text service became free, Youthline has experienced a 14% increase overall in the number of contacts received from young people and their families seeking help, and predict that texts will very soon outnumber calls.

The Sovereign Sunshine programme which has given its support to Youthline helps under-resourced children’s charities by providing them with funding.

Each month the initiative focuses on a different charity group, with members of the public deciding via online voting which charity gets the funding. Sovereign staff also play their part by helping to raise funds for the different charities.

Sovereign Head of Marketing and Product Management, Vena Crawley, said Sovereign’s staff enjoy getting behind raising funds for the children’s charities each month.

“Sovereign is working together with the New Zealand public to make the future brighter for as many young New Zealanders as possible. We’re committed to making a difference and invite other New Zealanders to join us by voting online for their favourite charity each month.”

To find out more about the programme or to vote for a charity go to www.sovereignsunshine.co.nz.

- ends –


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