Youth support van back on the streets

AFTER a hiatus of more than a year the Street Cruise van is about to head back onto Clarence Valley streets, providing on-the-spot counselling services to young people and access to youth-related cultural events.

The New School of Arts in South Grafton has secured Federal Government funding of $164,699.70 from the Department of Health and Ageing over two years to continue the service.

Two youth workers will head up the project which will also use the services of community volunteers to get out onto the streets at night to target anti-social behaviour by young people.

School of Arts youth services co-ordinator Colleen Kennedy said one worker, Kathleen O'Sullivan, had already been appointed and recruitment of the second worker was well advanced.

Ms Kennedy said the volunteers who worked on the original Street Cruise would receive refresher training and new volunteers would be trained in the techniques required to man the street van.

Ms Kennedy said Street Cruise worked well with police in its last incarnation and predicted a similar result this time.

“Our volunteers are trained to call on police for help if they think things could be are getting out of hand,” Ms Kennedy said.

In addition to the van patrols heading off problems for young people, the Street Cruise program will create cultural activities for the region's youth.

“There will be activities like dance parties and pool parties, live bands and DJs,” Ms Kennedy said.

“We will also look at holding extreme sports days, like skating.

“Our staff will listen to what the kids are looking for and do what we can to provide those types of events.”

Ms Kennedy said the Street Cruise group could hold about one of these events every month.



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