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Proceeds of crime helping youths

Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare (third from right) with (from left) Lismore PCYC administration officer Sharon Irwin, Page MP Janelle Saffin, Lismore PCYC president John Maxwell, deputy mayor Isaac Smith and Detective Inspector Matt Kehoe.
Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare (third from right) with (from left) Lismore PCYC administration officer Sharon Irwin, Page MP Janelle Saffin, Lismore PCYC president John Maxwell, deputy mayor Isaac Smith and Detective Inspector Matt Kehoe. Cathy Adams

MONEY confiscated from criminals is now being redirected to help young people and communities through investment in Police Citizens Youth Club programs in the local region.

A total of $75,000 has been allocated by the Federal Government to fund the Bundjalung Midnight Sports Program for young indigenous people aged 14-18 in Ballina, Lismore, Casino and Coraki.

"We are self-supporting and to go out and do programs that are significant we really need outside assistance," said president of the local PCYC Advisory Committee John Maxwell.

"This money will allow us to continue on and take four groups of 20 kids each over the next few months."

Program participants will undertake educational and sporting activities at their local PCYC, delivered in conjunction with the Aboriginal Community Justice Group.

Page MP Janelle Saffin launched the initiative in Lismore on Friday with Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare, who was visiting the region.

"We can use the proceeds of crime fund to actually help stop crime," said the minister.

"I've allocated two million dollars to Police Citizens Youth Clubs across the country. This one in Lismore is one of 16 that will benefit," said Mr Clare.

Detective Sergeant Matt Kehoe from the Richmond Local Area Command said the pilot program appeared to make a real difference to participants and also lightened the police workload.

"We've seen turnaround in a number of kids that had previously been involved in antisocial behaviour and crime and it's really good to see a positive outlook.

"They're getting the support of the people here and turning their lives around."

Further efforts are under way in the region to make communities safe, with Mr Clare visiting Ballina to announce a $90,000 grant for lighting of local community sports fields under the Federal Government's Safer Suburbs Program.

The funding will be used to install 11 light poles with integrated solar and lighting equipment, four each at Saunders Sports Field and Bi-Centennial Park in Ballina and three at Elizabeth Ann Brown Park in Alstonville.

Topics:  community, crime, pcyc, youth


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