Young people 10 to 24 and anyone working with young people are encouraged to attend a public meeting to discuss youth health needs.

The meeting is organised by the Horowhenua Youth Health Service which is hoping to expand their services soon and would like to know what young people really need and want.

Horowhenua's Youth Health Service started in 2011 as part of the much bigger YOSS in Palmerston North, which has been running for over 20 years. Horowhenua's books have been full for the past 18 months and they are looking for more funding to expand the services based at the Horowhenua Learning Centre in Bath Street in Levin three days a week.

A public meeting is planned on October 23 at 5.30pm in Te Takere's Youth Space, Bath Street to discuss with young people what they would like the service to provide.


Horowhenua's service began with one person working one day a week. Now it has three people for three days a week - a receptionist, a nurse and a GP.

"We do primary health care for 10 to 24-year-olds," said GP Glenn Colquhoun. "It is a free service for them and we deal with anything imaginable, including mental health and sexual health issues. We work intensively with young people, which means appointments are longer than those at an ordinary GP and we often do multiple appointments over a period of time with the same person."

He said they would like to grow the service to five days a week with extra staff such as a youth worker (three days), a psychologist (two days), as well as a nurse for five days and a GP for three days a week.

YOSS is a registered charity and gets funding through DHB contracts for services and is constantly looking for money from other entities. It is not always successful as it is a service that needs ongoing funding, rather than money for a specific project for a set number of years.

Since the Horowhenua Learning Centre and its partner Life to the Max are planning to move to a bigger building later this year at the old hospital site on Levin's Liverpool Street, the youth health centre staff are hoping to have a lot more room, which will allow them to expand their services.

In the past they have funded a youth group and organised social and cultural activities for youth as well as trips to interesting places.

"It is about building relationships with young people and give them positive things to do," said Colquhoun.

He said there is huge need in Levin given the high needs and low incomes of many families.


"We have been turning kids down for the past 18 months due to lack of capacity. This is labour-intensive work where people stay in the system much longer than normal. We also try and keep an eye on them once they leave our services."

They have at times funded dental work, and buy presents for new babies, give books and hand out vouchers for food and petrol, whatever the person may need.

The public meeting is likely to include discussion groups and any feedback will be taken back to the YOSS board, which can take that to possible funders.

The service is well used and the team are passionate about their clinic and the young people they can help, but would like to do more.

"Once HLC and Life to the Max move into the bigger building there are options for us and planning growth now in anticipation of that make sense. The new building looks like it will be a true youth hub."