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Local Charity Aims To Raise $300k In Six Weeks For Youth Mental Health Facility

Canterbury health charity Maia Health Foundation is hoping the opportunity to double their donation will see Cantabrians rise to the challenge of raising $300,000 in the next six weeks.

Maia’s Shine A Light appeal is launching today, with all funds raised going towards a new mental health outpatient facility for children and young people in Canterbury.

Rainbow Children’s Trust, along with two other generous donors, has agreed to dollar-match any donation made to the Shine A Light appeal, up to the value of $150,000.

“This is an incredible opportunity which gives us an enormous head start to this year’s Shine A Light appeal. We’re urging all Cantabrians to join Maia and the Rainbow Children’s Trust, to help us reach our $300,000 target,” says Maia Health Foundation GM Fundraising & Marketing Anna Galvan.

“Every donation, no matter the size, can be doubled – meaning that their light will shine twice as bright for the children and young people so desperately needing our support,” says Anna.

Since January 2018 there’s been a 140% increase in demand for child and youth mental health services. Last year 4,614 new young people were referred to Canterbury District Health Board’s Child, Adolescent and Family (CAF) service, on top of the service’s existing caseload.

Maia is working alongside the Canterbury District Health Board (DHB) to create a modern, fit-for- purpose mental health outpatient facility for children and young people in Canterbury. Maia has committed to raising $6 million towards the facility, with all funds raised through the Shine A Light appeal going towards the project.

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Maia Health Foundation Trustee Janine Morrell-Gunn says the new facility can’t come soon enough.

“Our young people have faced a decade of extraordinary challenges and urgently need our help. We have incredible, passionate mental health staff who are hamstrung every day by the dark, broken buildings they must bring our most vulnerable and at-risk young people into for treatment,” says Janine.

Despite the increase in demand for the region’s mental health services, the Government turned down a request in 2019 to upgrade the outpatient facility. That’s when the Canterbury DHB approached Maia for support.

“The Maia Health Foundation is stepping up because waiting for conditions to improve is no longer an option. We are proud to partner with the Canterbury District Health Board to create a bespoke facility with the capacity to use world leading resources to deliver a best practice service to our young people. We are asking you to join us and support this appeal and put the health of our young people first.”

Detailed design work is underway for the new CAF outpatient facility, which will be located at the former Canterbury Linen Services building, on the outskirts of the Hillmorton campus. The purpose-

designed facility will bring together the work of the mental health teams currently based at The Princess Margaret Hospital and Hillmorton sites.

Canterbury District Health Board Child, Adolescent and Family service manager Deborah Selwood says as well as not reflecting a welcoming, caring environment, the current facilities do not reflect our modern way of caring for people.

“We have treatments and therapies that we would love to offer, but that our facilities don’t easily support. While it’s a real challenge working in an environment that’s not fit for purpose, we keep doing it because we know we are making a difference,” says Deborah.

Deborah says Maia’s commitment to the new facility has given her team hope.

“We have no doubt that having warm, welcoming, fit-for-purpose spaces will result in better outcomes for our people and our patients. It will be game-changing,” says Deborah.

Maia’s Shine A Light appeal is launching today and will run until 24 December 2021. As part of the campaign, Otty has shared her story of overcoming obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

Otty experienced the CAF service at The Princess Margaret Hospital and Hillmorton sites.

“It almost feels like a prison – everything’s very dark and you feel like you’re going to get trapped. It doesn’t fill you with motivation to get better. But the staff are amazing. It wasn’t the building or environment that helped me – it was 110% them.”

Otty says she is joining Maia Health Foundation’s Shine A Light campaign as she wants to own her past and support young people of the future.

“We need this new community outpatient facility for mental health. It’s wonderful that we have a lovely new emergency department and hospital in town but when you visit the mental health units and see the conditions there, it’s just the worst place. It feels forgotten, but by telling my story and supporting Maia I’m hoping we can change that.”

For further information or to give to Maia’s Shine A Light appeal go to

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