Lismore rises to Rachel?s challenge
By ZOE SATHERLEY and SAMANTHA TURNBULL
LISMORE has taken up actress Rachel Ward's challenge to offer jobs to a troubled youth.
A number of offers have been made to young convicted criminal Nathan Broadrick, who became a father for the first time on Wednesday.
Ms Ward, the internationally renowned actress, took the city to task for failing to look after Mr Broadrick and his girlfriend, Amanda Peters.
The trio became close after working on a television series soon to be screened on SBS about disadvantaged youth in rural areas.
The eight-part series, Knot at Home, will screen in May and features the stories of 10 Northern Rivers homeless teenagers.
However, the city of Lismore quickly took up Ms Ward's challenge to help Mr Broadrick, who confirmed a number of offers had been been made. He declined to comment further.
Yesterday, Ms Ward, who is expected to become a godmother to Mr Broadrick's daughter, again praised her friend.
"Kids like Nathan are the bedrock of tomorrow's Lismore. It's incumbent upon people to give jobs to kids who are Lismore kids," she told Radio 2LM.
"The proof is in the pudding this time. He (Nathan) got a suspended sentence and, boy oh boy, has he pulled himself together. He has kept his nose absolutely clean.
"He could be sitting in jail right now.
"A lot of these kids don't have anyone who believes in them. They do need support, mentors and people in the community who care about them. Nathan doesn't have parents, the community is his only way out.
"There's only hope when you have organisations like Kids in the Community. If the community can't take them on, that's when they'll end up in jail.
"I'm becoming increasingly fond of Lismore. Any opportunity to be there, I'm there. I'm not going to butt out."
Last year, Ms Ward made headlines when she criticised Lismore as a haven for teenage girls whose only goal is falling pregnant.
Ms Ward and actor partner Bryan Brown had giving a written reference to Nathan Broadrick, saving him from a jail sentence.
At the time, Ms Ward referred to disadvantaged Lismore youth as being caught in a cycle of drinking and unemployment, adding that girls grew up with 'a mentality that there isn't that much out there for them except being mothers'.
On Tuesday, Ms Ward was in Lismore again to launch this year's regional Kids in Community Awards and challenged 'those in positions of influence' to find a job or apprenticeship for Mr Broadrick, who last year won the Against All Odds award category.