Youth service grant

A $127,400 grant will enable Byron Youth Service to purchase a van for its mobile youth outreach service.

The grant has been made available from the 2010 Proceeds of Crime Act Community Grant.

The mobile service will be conducted in partnership with BUDDI (Byron Underage Drinking and Drug Initiative) and is part of a ‘Turning the Tide on Local Youth Crime’ project which aims to provide an early intervention service for young people on Friday and Saturday nights in the shire and at peak times during events, festivals, Schoolies and summer tourism.

The grant was announced last week by the Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O’Connor and local MP Justine Elliot.

“The Government is committed to ensuring that criminal proceeds are returned to the community through projects which make out communities safer, such as intervention programs for youth at risk,” Mr O’Connor said.

Director of BYS Di Mahoney said the project aimed to reduce young people’s involvement in drink-driving, cannabis offences, liquor offences, assault and offensive behaviours such as vandalism, many of which occurred on the streets within the shire.

“A mobile service will enable our youth workers and volunteers to be out there and intervene early when young people appear to be making bad choices,” Ms Mahoney said.

“The program will also include a peer education component, whereby young offenders share their stories with others their own age, explaining how mistakes can often result in significant costs to family, friends and their own future by being caught up in the juvenile or adult justice system.

“Many young people don’t realise that having a criminal conviction really limits their future plans to travel to places like America, or pursue particular career dreams.

“We want to help our young people to think before they drink or use drugs, as many of the random acts that end in youth crime are a direct result of over-use.”

The Byron Local Government area experiences non-domestic violence related assaults at significantly higher levels than most of NSW; has the state’s worst levels of drink-driving and was ranked number one in the state for cannabis offences in 2008.

Ms Mahoney said young people were often involved in these crimes because they were out there drinking and partying.

To get involved as a volunteer contact BUDDI team leader Nicqui Yazdi on 0402013177 or for more information about the project, Ms Mahoney can be contacted on 0407664060.

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