TAK­ING BACK THE STREETS

PA­TROL GROUP NEEDS FUNDS

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - FRONT PAGE - Danielle Jarvis Have you wit­nessed the group help­ing? face­book.com/ mt­druitt­stan­dard

group of el­ders pa­trolling the streets of Mt Druitt at night has helped re­duce the num­ber of Samoan youths get­ting into trou­ble but the pro­gram is now fight­ing for fund­ing.

A GROUP of Samoan el­ders who pa­trol the streets of Mt Druitt at night are on the verge of run­ning out of fund­ing.

The El­ders Pa­trol aims to re­duce crime in the area, es­pe­cially those com­mit­ted by Samoan young peo­ple.

The group pa­trols the streets of Mt Druitt and of­ten get called out to in­ci­dents in­volv­ing Samoan or pa­cific is­lan­der youths.

The pa­trol re­ceived a 100,000 grant for two years from the Depart­ment of Fam­i­lies and Com­mu­nity Ser­vices.

The group is now seek­ing ad­di­tional fund­ing to sup­port its ac­tiv­i­ties af­ter June.

Nu­uialii Tua Afele, pres­i­dent of the Samoan Com­mu­nity Sup­port Ser­vices West­ern Syd­ney, is one of the 26-mem­ber team who pa­trol Mt Druitt for two to three hours on Thurs­day and Satur­day nights.

Mr Afele said the el­ders have been able to keep youths out of jail.

He said the key to keep­ing Samoan young peo­ple out of trou­ble was help­ing them to in­te­grate into both Aus­tralian and Samoan cul­tures.

“We’re try­ing to mesh the two cul­tures to­gether,” he said.

The El­ders Pa­trol was able to calm ten­sions af­ter a 14- year-old girl was al­legedly at­tacked by men last year.

“We met with the fam­i­lies and we were able to sort it out,” Mr Afele said.

Mt Druitt state La­bor MP Ed­mond Atalla said he sup­ported the work of cul­tural groups which as­sisted the com­mu­nity.

“I would sup­port any pro­gram that stops po­lice re­sources be­ing tied up un­nec­es­sar­ily,” he said.

Uli­uli Tavai has been a vol­un­teer for the El­ders Pa­trol for ten years.

“I joined this group be­cause I have grand­chil­dren too,” Ms Tavai said.

“I know (the pa­trol is) bet­ter to keep my grand­chil­dren safe.

“To take out some of the hard stuff from the po­lice and leave them to do the ma­jor crimes. This small stuff for us its noth­ing com­pared to what the po­lice do.”

Pic­ture: PHILLIP ROGERS

Aiga Oloaga, Uli­uli Tavai, Nu­uialii Tua Afele and Nanai Loau are part of the El­ders Pa­trol.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.