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Youth development not-for-profit organisation Youthtown has decided not to return to it’s centre at 68 Nelson Street and says it is working through what they intend to do with the building to support its long term strategic goals.
The organisation re-located from its Auckland central facility, when it was closed in February 2014 in order to undertake site works for lead remediation in the basement, historically used by a rifle range.
After extensive deliberation and careful consideration, the Board of Youthtown has decided that the organisation will not be returning to it’s Nelson St premises.
CEO Paula Kearns says the decision was not an easy one, and the organisation acknowledged the public fondness for the centre, and its historic association with troubled youth, as well as the basketball community.
However, it is not financially viable for the organisation, to continue to operate the centre in its current location as it would take a significant financial investment to refurbish or redevelop the building as a safe youth facility. In addition to this, there are also significant, on-going costs of maintaining and operating the centre.
“Difficult as this decision is, we have a responsibility to all those who support us, and the communities we serve, to continue to deliver the programmes and services we provide. Our growth and development against our Strategy is producing excellent results, and the way we work now out in our communities makes our programmes more accessible to all young people,” she said.
“The decision not to return to the facility in no way affected Youthtown’s existing programmes and our Auckland Central programmes are being run in their new locations as they have done since we left the premises at Nelson St , and this will continue,” Ms Kearns said. “The Youthtown organisation continues to support and grow within key communities across New Zealand.”
Ms Kearns said that the Youthtown Board acknowledged the significance and history of the Nelson St location, which Youthtown has been running programmes out of since 1968, originally as Boystown.
“This long history and the positive memories the building has, made this an extremely important and difficult decision to make,” she said.
“Youthtown agrees that Auckland needs a central youth facility, however Youthtown is not in a position to provide this,” said Ms Kearns. Ms Kearns said that the Youthtown Vision, to empower young New Zealanders to be the best they can be, would be achieved by a strategic focus on developing excellence in youth development, operating to ensure safe place, people and programmes, growing in key communities nationally and being financially sustainable. The Board was considering it’s options for the building, and would keep the community advised of what these might be on its website as future decisions were made.