Brodie Bott

Working to fix youth problem

THE Cabarita community has moved to arrest the well-publicised anti-social behaviour of some youths in the village.

A community meeting at the Cabarita Sports Club earlier this month was well-attended and advertising will soon start to hire a youth officer for the village. The meeting was in response to problems with vandalism and gang wars at Cabarita and other Tweed Coast villages.

According to sports club general manager Phil Mallon, the meeting was a positive for the community.

“We had a huge turnout of about 80 people with (Tweed Shire) deputy mayor Barry Longland and councillor Kevin Skinner also in attendance,” Mr Mallon said. “There were a number of kids there as well. About 20-odd kids attended the meeting.”

He said pressure on local families with both parents, or single parents working long hours was an issue for many of the kids, as was boredom.

Tweed Clubs, of which Cabarita Sports Club is a member, has provided a grant of $27,950 for the project from the Community Development Support Expenditure Scheme.

“We have the opportunity, working with the funding, to bring the community together to make it a safe and nurturing environment for young people,” Mr Mallon said.

Sporting events will be organised and local employers have offered to provide work experience for the young people.

Mr Mallon said about 40 people at the meeting volunteered to help with the effort.

“It was a really, really successful night. The best part of the meeting was seeing the community come together to work on this issue,” Mr Mallon said. “For this community to stand up like it has is just a very positive thing for our community.”

Tweed Shire Council's Youth Development Officer Margaret Strong said the aim was to encourage young people and community members to work together to change perceptions and break down barriers between the generations.

“This has already happened, with a group of young people and some local business people developing the application for funding together,” she said.

“If we can engage young people in this process, it will help prevent and reduce anti-social and risk-taking behaviour by the young people and support them to experience a sense of belonging and connectedness to the community,” she said.

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