Com­mu­nity re-con­nects

Whitsunday Times - - COMMUNITY NEWS -

A SIM­PLE game of touch foot­ball be­tween lo­cal po­lice and youth has gone a long way to­wards fos­ter­ing good re­la­tion­ships in the Whit­sun­day com­mu­nity.

The game was held as a fun so­cial ac­tiv­ity in Proser­pine’s Spalla Park on Fri­day af­ter­noon. It was or­gan­ised by Com­mu­nity Friends, a group of con­cerned lo­cal res­i­dents and ser­vice providers, who joined forces in June to tackle the sen­si­tive topic of youth sui­cide.

Proser­pine Com­mu­nity Cen­tre co-or­di­na­tor Cathie Evans said events such as Fri­day’s bar­beque and kickaround were about bring­ing the com­mu­nity to­gether, re­con­nect­ing and pro­vid­ing an op­por­tu­nity to get to know ser­vice providers “and know that there is help”.

“Not only that, we’re form­ing friend­ships as well,” she said. “Those who are at risk are sup­ported – you don’t have to do it on your own. If you’re feel­ing bad, reach out.”

Ms Evans said she was thrilled with Fri­day’s turnout of more than 60 peo­ple – a sen­ti­ment echoed by Se­nior Con­sta­ble Do­minic Cross of Proser­pine Po­lice.

“It was a great re­sponse from both sta­tions, a good turnout from the youth and the po­lice and a great time was had by all,” he said.

“The af­ter­noon was such a suc­cess we’re plan­ning sim­i­lar sorts of events in the near fu­ture.”

Snr Con­sta­ble Cross said po­lice recog­nised that sui­cide preven­tion was an im­por­tant cause for the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

“In a small, tight-knit com­mu­nity, the loss of life and es­pe­cially young life has a pro­found and far-reach­ing ef­fect,” he said.

Queens­land Health in­dige­nous child and youth men­tal health worker Jeff Law­ton agreed.

“Don’t be afraid to talk,” was his ad­vice.

In the touch foot­ball game, the youth side beat the po­lice 9-7. A re-match is al­ready planned.

FORM­ING FRIEND­SHIPS: Proser­pine State High School stu­dent Bai­ley Gabey with Queens­land Health in­dige­nous youth men­tal health worker Jeff Law­ton at last Fri­day's Com­mu­nity Friends bar­beque and touch foot­ball game be­tween lo­cal youth and po­lice.

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