Shopping centres in North Lakes, Townsville, Rockhampton, Chermside, Coomera, and Helensvale have joined in the Queensland Youth Partnership Initiative to connect young people with youth services and police.
The new community partnership with retailers, local community groups, state government services, and police delivered over the summer holidays a range of activities including sport, art, and music, in an effort to reconnect the youth with health services and education, training, and employment opportunities.
The Queensland Youth Partnership Initiative is just one of the 51 new initiatives delivered through the State Government’s half a billion dollar investment into youth justice reform.
“Shopping centres are places where everybody expects to feel safe, and that’s how it should be,” Member for Bancroft Chris Whiting said.
“Young people who don’t have a safe place to go often gravitate to shopping centres, which can be a bit of a problem sometimes.
“This initiative is a fantastic way for police, government services and community leaders to connect with young people, offer support, guidance and advice in a way that makes them feel like part of the community.
“Youth workers and police have been really positive about the program, and they say they’ve seen significant behaviour changes for the better.
The program also resulted in some retailers offering young people work experience, Mr Whiting added.
For her part, Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women Di Farmer said that community safety was the government’s top priority, which includes the feeling of being safe at shopping centres, at home, and in the community.
“Boredom can sometimes lead to trouble in our shopping centres, but this program provides positive and constructive things for young people to do which has had a positive impact inside and outside the shopping centres.”
“It’s a great demonstration of what can be achieved when communities work together to provide young people with structured activities and an alternative place to congregate and hang out.”