Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall talks to Armidale Youth Assist support workers Courtney Ford (left) and Desmond Ahoy and Youth Assist Transport Service founding member Chris Halligan, right.
MEMBER for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall today announced $78,000 in State Government funding for an Armidale bus service that picks up Aboriginal youth from the streets at night and takes them to a safe place.
“This grant is great news for the community – it means the Armidale Youth Assist transport service is funded until June 2016 and can continue to turn around the lives of vulnerable young people,” Mr Marshall said.
Mr Marshall said the bus service had completed more than 560 pick-ups in the first quarter of this year.
“The bus targets young people who are unsupervised, bored and at risk of being a victim of a crime or getting caught up in criminal activity,” he said.
“The service offers more than a free ride home, it provides emotional support and encourages positive and healthy living.
“The bus operators also connect youth with support services so they can address the issues that led to them being on the streets late at night.”
The bus, which is managed by Armidale Youth Assist, operates on Friday and Saturday nights from 8.30pm to 12.30am.
The patrol is staffed by local Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal workers who have received tailored training to assist them with identifying and addressing the needs of young people.
The Department of Justice funds Safe Aboriginal Youth patrols in 10 locations across NSW, including Armidale, Bourke, Dareton, Dubbo, Kempsey, La Perouse, Newcastle, Nowra, Taree and Wilcannia.
“Patrols increase the safety of young people on the street at night, and can also reduce a range of crimes, including vandalism, alcohol-related violence and theft,” Mr Marshall said.