Funding delivered to keep Hervey Bay youth away from crime

THE Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre has been awarded a grant of $416,856 as part of the Coalition Government’s Safer Communities Fund.

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Photo by Afta Putta Gunawan on Pexels.com

The grant will be used to improve community safety in and around Hervey Bay by helping divert at-risk youth from a life in crime.

It forms part of an extra $50-million invested under round six of the program.

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Some 75 practical community-led projects across Australia will now be supported to work with high-risk young people to break the cycle of repeat offending.

Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt congratulated the Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre on being awarded the grant.

CEO of the Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre Tanya Stevenson and Hinkler MP Keith Pitt. PHOTO: Supplied.

He said the grant would be used to give the youth the support they need to keep them away from negative influences and anti-social behaviour.

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“Our local young people should be given every chance possible to achieve their full potential and this project will target up to 80 youth aged between 15 and 24 from the Hervey Bay community,” Mr Pitt said.

“The project aims to improve the participants’ employability through increasing their engagement in educational outcomes, improve their physical health, reduce drug and alcohol use and increase their social cohesion and interactions with the community.

“The Coalition Government is backing community-led solutions to early-intervention – to ensure all residents can go about their daily lives free from violence, harassment and anti-social behaviour.”

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Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre CEO Tanya Stevenson said that funding would be used to support young people in Hervey Bay to participate in positive community activities while re-engaging them into education or employment.

“Our annual Fraser Coast Youth Survey indicates that one third of our 12 – 17-year-olds are accessing psychological support,” she said.

“It also indicates that 16 per cent of our young people do not feel safe at home with a further 19 per cent reporting that they had run away from home with Domestic and Family Violence being the major contributing factor.

“This program will holistically support the young person and their family to develop resilience and create a brighter future together,” Ms Stevenson said.

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Assistant Minister for Customs, Community Safety and Multicultural Affairs Jason Wood said the additional funding was in response to overwhelming demand from the community and would support organisations with demonstrated experience in helping marginalised youth, to build resilience, strengthen community connections and job readiness skills.

“These community organisations do vital work in helping get young people on the right track. We know that some young people engage in activities or have negative experiences that leave them at risk of joining gangs, committing serious crimes and disengaging from the wider community,” Assistant Minister Wood said.

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“The challenges we’ve faced over the last two years as a result of the pandemic have only added to the sense of social isolation and disconnection that some young people feel.

“This program ensures young people can get the support and assistance they need.  I thank and congratulate the local grant recipients for their ongoing work, which we are proud to support. It’s all about creating a stronger, safer communities.”

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The funding will be delivered under the latest round of the Safer Communities Fund which has invested more than $265-million and provided over 720 grants directly to local communities to deliver grass roots crime prevention initiatives since 2016.

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