19 Mar 2010

Hundreds protest at youth health centre closure

6:57 pm on 19 March 2010

Several hundred people gathered in Christchurch's Latimer Square at lunchtime on Friday to protest against the closure of a free drop-in health centre for young people.

The 198 centre, which was founded in 1995, is facing bankruptcy because of a funding shortfall and will close at the end of next month.

The Canterbury District Health Board says that, while it wants to fund a one-stop-shop youth health service in Christchurch, the 198 centre is unsustainable in its current location.

Supporters say they will do everything they can to start a new centre. A 198 nurse, Emma Aldridge, told the rally a new one-stop-shop youth health centre would need consistent funding so that there wasn't a crisis every two years.

Another 198 nurse, Gayle Lauder, says funding has been a struggle throughout the centre's existence.