Mr Kevin Humphries

$250,000 to help youth

• Participants and mentors in the successful “Back Track” Program at Lake Cargelligo.

By Melissa Blewitt

Condobolin and Lake Cargelligo will benefit from a $250,000 grant that is aimed at helping troubled teens and preventing youth crime.
Minister for Police Troy Grant and Member for Barwon Kevin Humphries made the announcement on Monday, with funding being secured through the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government’s Community Safety Fund.
The program will be delivered as a collaboration between Western Plains Regional Development Corp., Lower Lachlan Community Services, and Central West Family Support Service.
WPRD Executive Officer Anne Coffey said the funding will be used to extend the best elements of ‘Back Track’, which will now be known as ‘Down the Track’ in Lake Cargelligo.
“This program was originally funded through Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation (VFFF) and has been extremely successful with engaging 12 young men who have since all received part time employment,” she stated.
“We have held very successful shearing schools and a fencing school, which included a Certificate II in Agriculture. There is a very strong mentoring component into the program, similar to the ‘Back Track’ program at Armidale, where mentors support individual young men to overcome barriers to employment and to guide youth into more positive behaviours.
“This approach, not only provides success for the individual involved, but leads to a safer community for all.
“Part of the program will be extending youth centre hours for older children and widening the intake to include young women, non-Indigenous youth as well as young Indigenous men.
In Condobolin, the project will extend youth engagement activities including using the ‘Drop In’ centre for targeted youth needs, with an intensive intervention program aimed at referred disengaged young people in the community, as well as skills development for staff, mentors and participants.
The recent Growing Lachlan Report, which was undertaken by the Community Connection Officers, highlighted the need for more programs for youth and the need to improve Community Safety which was used as a basis for the grant.
Mr Humphries said the project will provide troubled teenagers in the region with mentoring to improve their skills, boost their self-esteem, and strengthen ties with their families and their communities.
“Lachlan Shire faces many community challenges, including high youth unemployment, crime rates above the State average in many categories, and problems with drug and alcohol abuse.
“Helping troubled youths turn their backs on lives of crime and anti-social behaviour will have major benefits for the safety and prosperity of our community.”
The Community Safety Fund has already delivered close to $5 million in support for crime prevention initiatives across NSW.

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