Hundreds of young people in Northland may no longer have a safe place to go if the Whangarei Youth Space does not replace $300,000 in funding.
Bernie Burrell, general manager of Whangarei Youth Space (WYS), said this year is a "critical year" for WYS as it was coming to the end of two significant investments from Foundation North and the Vodafone New Zealand Foundation.
"We are so passionate about what we see here and the young people we help and support. It's the one place they can come and have a sense of belonging and trusted youth workers and trusted youth health specialists.
"Just to keep us going we'd need to replace philanthropic funding of about $300,000. We're in the space where we've got to channel all our energy on finding a solution so we don't end up in a dire situation," she said.
Ms Burrell said the Foundation North funding was a $2 million grant from October 2013 to September this year. It was front-loaded to support WYS start up from scratch and the first lot of funding was about $757,000. It then reduced each year.
The Vodafone New Zealand Foundation has supported WYS with a $307,450 grant which has been paid out over three years.
"We're extremely grateful for the support from philanthropy to get the organisation started. The intent was always that the community would pick it up and run with it but that's really challenging in our community," she said.
The current funding will carry WYS through to the end of this year but about $300,000 is needed to continue operations through next year and beyond.
Ms Burrell said WYS had been applying for funding from various organisations and had been in talks with Foundation North and the Vodafone New Zealand Foundation.
They had also been working with central government and were looking at gaining support from the local community.
The youth space's annual report for the year ending June 2017 said annual revenue for the year was $1,006,258 compared to $1,127,864 in 2016.
Meanwhile the total expenses for the year ending June 2017 was $842,217 compared to $1,009,740 the previous year. Of the 2017 expenses $570,237 went towards salaries and wages for all staff including nurses and the GP.
Ms Burrell said there are 467 individual youth drop in members and 5077 attendances each year. Meanwhile there are 1297 young people who are health patients.
Ms Burrell said it had been difficult for staff as they saw the value in WYS.
"They worry that if youth space wasn't here, who would support these young people, where would they go? What would they do if they are not coming to youth space and being supported and guided and pointed in the right direction? What kind of social impact would that have?"
Meanwhile, Minister for Youth Peeni Henare and Children's Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft will speak at Forum North as part of WYS Talks on March 12.