Breaking the cycle of despair
YOUNG offenders at Acmena will be put to work on unmaintained council property as part of a new agreement between the Clarence Valley Council and the juvenile justice centre.
The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by Mayor Richie Williamson yesterday and is designed to improve young offenders' workplace skills as well as have them give back to the community.
"Under the MoU, youths will work with local committees to improve amenities in the Clarence area and they will receive training in workplace health and safety," Cr Williamson said.
"They will learn a sense of community and enhance their skills which will put them on the pathway to employment through the MoU.
"This is the first MoU council has had with Acmena; it has been in the planning for the past 12 months."
Cr Williamson said the idea was first suggested to him by Michael Woods, a unit manager at Acmena.
Mr Woods told The Daily Examiner he hopes the MoU will provide a source of self-esteem for the youths and allow them to give something back to the community.
"The MoU only applies to youths who are eligible to take part if their control orders permit it," Mr Woods said.
"We do a lot of horticulture work with the youths through the Induna School at Acmena and the MoU is a chance for them to put these skills to good use in the community.
"Everyone at Acmena is looking forward to starting work under the MoU in coming weeks."
The council is formulating a second MoU at Acmena which would involve Grafton Pound.
Cr Williamson said it would enable animals from the pound to be housed at Acmena and cared for by the youths on site.