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Youthline Wellington is a not for profit organisation who provide safe, youth- centred support services for young people. The mainstay of the organisation is the youth helpline, a confidential phone/text/email and webchat counselling service for young people. Youthline Wellington also provides youth development training, information and resources, education and training for schools, volunteers, and the wider community.
Youthline has 9 branches throughout NZ including Wellington. Youthline Wellington operates with over 100 volunteers and 2 paid staff members.
National Youthline data indicates a strong need for Youthline services. However, Youthline Wellington has limited research and evaluative data to demonstrate the impact, relevance or efficiency of their services in Wellington. This data is important to improve Youthline Wellington services for young people and obtain funding.
Youthline Wellington wants to better understand its market and stakeholders to increase its effectiveness and efficiencies. In particular:
Therefore, the main purpose of this research and evaluation is to really understand from a young person’s perspective, their connection and relevancy to Youthline Wellington. In addition to that we wanted to check from stakeholders (funders, referrers, supporters and other organisations that support young people) how they viewed Youthline Wellington and why they fund, refer or support Youthline. The evaluation objectives are as follows:
- Show Youthline Wellington Operations (numbers & interactions)
- Determine Gaps, Impact on Users if no Youthline
- Assess Perceived Relevancy/Impact
- Gauge What’s Working/What’s not
- Identity other services Stakeholders think Youthline Wellington should provide
The research was mainly conducted from an outside in perspective. With Youthline Wellington’s key stakeholders being young people, plus supporters, referrers, funders. The additional stakeholders included in this evaluation were Youthline Wellington volunteers and Group Supervisors.
We undertook a mixed method approach to evaluate Youthline Wellington, with a mainly qualitative approach to enable deeper insights to emerge. Activities included:
Summary of recommendations from Young people, Stakeholders and Volunteers.
There are several positive points surrounding Youthline to remember when going forward:
- It plays an essential role in improving mental health among youth
- Youthline has an extremely positive heritage and legacy
- Its brand is still the most trusted, familiar and recognised.
- With increase in mental health demands and a decrease in available counsellors, organisations and schools are relying on the support from Youthline more and more. Ie. Stop gap for clients until they can see someone. School counsellors referring students to Youthline outside of school hours.
However, to continue to be at the forefront of people’s minds some key considerations are apparent:
- Primary consideration: To increase relevance, presence and reassurance among youth.
- Update website to attract target market
- Share more about Youthline ie. Data, tell stories
- Change message “Youthline helps you with any problem big or small”
- Secondary consideration: To increase available funds, shift funds from elsewhere, or to develop stronger partnerships with other counselling brands so resources can be shared.
Simply by conducting this research Youthline Wellington has made headway in making a difference to some young people’s lives [who participated] as well as raising its profile among the wider community.
“I would recommend Research Services. They are a company that clearly understands how to conduct applied research, even with Not-for-profits, and works with you to understand what you want to know, and the possible ways of getting that information.”
Nick, Co-Chairperson, Youthline Wellington