Horsham's Centre for Participation to run youth crime program

A NEW Horsham program will target youth crime prevention in the region, in a bid to make the city’s streets safer.

The state government has announced $200,000 to tackle youth crime in the Wimmera.

The grant has been allocated to the Centre for Participation, but the program will be delivered through a partnership between the centre, Grampians Community Health and Wimmera Southern Mallee LLEN.

Centre for Participation chief executive Julie Pettett said the the grant was exciting news for the region.

She said the program, called Connect The Service Puzzle For Youth At Risk, was about linking vulnerable young people with services.

“We will employ an outreach worker to assist and engage young people and help them build resilience,” she said. “The outreach worker will be on the ground, out and about wherever young people are.”

Ms Pettett said the program also including a mentoring aspect and would run for 18 months.

“We are really excited about this,” she said.

Ms Pettett said a range of agencies would be involved, including police, Department of Health and Wimmera Uniting Care.

“It’s about working long term to look at vulnerable youth in Horsham and finding ways to best support them,” she said.

“It’s hard yards being a young person these days.”

The program will target people aged between 10 and 24. Ms Pettett said she hoped an outreach worker would be employed by October.

“We will put a call out for anyone who wants to be involved,” she said.

“This is an amazing project and we would love to hear from anyone with questions or suggestions.”

Member for Western Victoria Jaala Pulford said the program was one of nine across Victoria.

“This program goes to the heart of the issue to support those at risk of falling into a life of crime,” she  said.

“These type of programs can be life-changing and help give young people a fresh start and the best chance to succeed.”

Police Minister Lisa Neville said getting young people involved in their community and making them feel supported was an important part of tackling youth crime.

“The state government is proud to support these community-based programs, given the difference they can make to young people and their communities,” she said.