Youth organisations make appeal to Invercargill public
Two youth service providers have taken to the streets of Invercargill to try and save their building.
Number 10 Youth One Stop Shop and the Invercargill Secondary Schools Network were in Esk St on Wednesday, gathering support for their petition to remain at its current location at 10 Deveron St.
The petition includes two main points: for the Invercargill City Council to not sell the property at 10 Deveron Street, and to arrange a long-term lease for both organisations to remain at the site.
Number 10 director Candace Bangura said it had already received 1000 signatures, which would be presented to council at a public forum on September 26.
"Much of the feedback has been from young people and parents around the value of the services provided, and that we're a known and established location.
"Those kind of positive messages have been very encouraging."
The two organisations' current property lease has not been renewed by the council, and will expire in March 2018.
The council is currently considering selling the site for a development proposal, which would include both 10 Deveron St and the adjacent property leased by the Invercargill Citizens Bowling Club.
At a council meeting on August 15, council chief executive Richard King said the development would involve the construction of a new medical centre.
Bangura said while both organisations had been working with council to look into options for an alternative venue, so far nothing suitable had been found.
Finding a site which had sufficient space and an affordable price had been a challenge, Bangura said.
"We've identified one property that could be modified for our use, some rough estimates have been done over how much that will cost and what it might look like.
"Space is available, but whether we can afford that space and renovate it for our programme is questionable."
Bangura said the property itself was not the only factor.
"Some of the value of the current location is the fact that we have a really positive relationship with [Invercargill Central Baptist Church] across the street, and use their facilities."
Bangura said the church's gymnasium facilities, meeting rooms and commercial kitchen were used regularly by both Number 10 and the Invercargill Secondary Schools Network.
Both organisations have been in their current location since 2007, when community organisations spent $600,000 on purpose-built renovation of the building's interior.
Number 10 provides medical and social services for youth aged 10-24, while the Invercargill Secondary Schools Network provides holistic in-house and satellite services and programmes for "at-risk" students.