7 Jan 2010

Youth helpline could fold without more funding

6:59 pm on 7 January 2010

The trust behind a telephone counselling service for young people says the service is in danger of folding if it can't get more funding.

Launched in 2001, 0800 WHATSUP receives up to 1500 calls a day from people between the ages of five and 18. But it can only afford to employ six counsellors, and only about 30% of calls are answered.

The executive director of the Kids Help Foundation Trust, which operates the helpline, says it costs $1 million a year to run.

Grant Taylor says he believes there's a real need for the service, because it is highly rated by clients, but the trust is struggling to find a funding partner willing to be involved in the long term.

Mr Taylor says calls about bullying - after relationships, the second most common reason for calls - peaked two years ago, which suggests that the intensity of bullying that is reported may be lessening.