Photo caption: Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton pictured with the team from CatholicCare Wilcannia-Forbes at Bourke.
Community safety will be enhanced in Bourke with CatholicCare Wilcannia-Forbes receiving $760,000 in Federal Government funding to roll out an early intervention project to help divert high-risk young people from a life of crime.
Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton said the funding has been provided under round six of the highly-successful Safer Communities Fund.
“All local residents deserve to feel safe, and all of our young people should have the chance to achieve their full potential,” Mr Coulton said.
“CatholicCare Wilcannia-Forbes already provides a range of services to support families across the region, and this funding will allow them to build on this work.
“The project will involve the establishment of the Bourke Youth Van, to facilitate engagement in cultural and educational activities for up to 200 youth. The aim is to reduce anti-social and criminal behaviour by improving the wellbeing and sense of self-worth and belonging for these young people.
“The Coalition Government is backing our community-led solutions to crime – to ensure all residents can go about their daily lives free from violence, harassment and anti-social behaviour.”
CatholicCare Wilcannia-Forbes CEO Anne-Marie Mioche said this funding will make a big difference in the Bourke community.
“We are delighted to have received this funding; our consultations in the community last year showed a real need to provide a program that would support children and young people after school, on weekends and during school holidays,” Ms Mioche said.
“This program will no doubt change the lives of young people for the better by providing positive alternatives to the justice system. We have met with key stakeholders already and hope to start the program in July.”
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 will 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.
“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 community.”
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.