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.