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Canterbury charity appeals for $1 million to create a Better Space for kids

Wednesday, September 13, 2023   Posted in: Signatory Notice Board By: Administrator With tags: mental health, services, children, young people, fundraising

Māia Health Foundation media release: 12th September 2023

The unveiling of a sculpture in central Christchurch today marks the beginning of a major public appeal to raise $1 million for a better outpatient space for Canterbury kids needing mental health support.

Every month around 400 Canterbury kids are referred for specialist support for their mental health. Current outpatient facilities where they are cared for are old, cramped and not fit-for-purpose.

The Better Space Appeal is part of the Māia Health Foundation’s commitment to raise $6 million for a new outpatient space in Canterbury - which will be called Kahurangi meaning “blue skies”. It will be home to Canterbury’s Child, Adolescent and Family (CAF) outpatient service, which provides mental health services for children and young people up to 18 years of age.

The $16 million facility is being jointly funded and developed by Māia Health Foundation and Te Whatu Ora Waitaha Canterbury, with Māia’s contribution enabling the facility to be truly world-class – taking it from good to great. So far Māia has raised $4.2 million and the Better Space Appeal is part of the final push to reach the $6 million goal.

“Our kids are in crisis, with huge demand for our mental health services. We urgently need a better space for our kids to receive the help they so desperately need. By supporting Māia’s Better Space Appeal together, as a community, we can build that space,” Māia Health Foundation CEO Michael Flatman says.

All donations to the Better Space Appeal will be doubled thanks to Rātā Foundation, which has promised to match every dollar donated up to $500,000.

Around 70 Canterbury primary and high school students will gather by the Bridge of Remembrance for today’s launch. A sculpture carved by acclaimed Māori artist Fayne Robinson will be unveiled. The 2.1 metre high by 2.3 metre wide steel and tōtara sculpture was supported by Westpac, and will be on display by the Bridge of Remembrance for four weeks . It will eventually be installed at the new outpatient space.

Hear about Jack's story

Kathryn and Jack Robinson are a mother and son who are bravely sharing their story in support of the Better Space Appeal. Jack was treated by the Child, Adolescent and Family mental health team during 2020 when his mind was “taken over” by Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

“I was lost and I didn’t know if I was ever going to get back to the normal me,” Jack says.

Jack says he owes the CAF team everything.

“To put it lightly, they’ve saved me. They’ve saved me from dying.”

Kathryn says there were times she just couldn’t see how Jack was ever going to get better.

“I was absolutely broken with a completely broken son. Now I have a son who is happy, healthy, whole, and working towards his dreams at university. I’m so grateful to CAF and all they’ve done for Jack and our family, to give him a future he deserves,” Kathryn says.

Kathryn wants all rangatahi to have the best chance at life, just like Jack.

“The therapist that Jack was working with was incredible. Pay her a million dollars, she was amazing. But unfortunately, the facilities where they work – and where our young people receive treatment – aren’t. Everyone who works there, and our young people and families who access the service, deserve better,” Kathryn says.

Kathryn says a new outpatient space will give more families hope while Jack says he’s excited to know there will be a brand new space where young people can feel comfortable and where they can get well.

How you can support the Better Space appeal

Michael Flatman says our mental health workforce is doing all it can to respond to the increasing demand they are experiencing, but they are hamstrung by the outdated facilities they are bringing our most vulnerable young people into. Supporting Māia’s Better Space Appeal will change that.

“Please donate to the Better Space Appeal. Invest in the future of our young people and our city by giving our most vulnerable young people a welcoming, purpose-designed, world-class space where we can support their wellbeing and recovery. With every dollar you donate being doubled thanks to the incredible generosity of the Rātā Foundation, you can double the difference you make. Please make your difference today,” Michael Flatman says.

Fit out works at the new outpatient space are commencing in September 2023 with the new Child, Adolescent and Family outpatient facility due to be complete in mid-2024.

Find out more about Māia’s Better Space Appeal, including how to donate.