Fighting crime with fitness

CRIMEFIGHTERS: Clarrie Moran helps out six-year-old Kayden Faulkner at a boxing session.
CRIMEFIGHTERS: Clarrie Moran helps out six-year-old Kayden Faulkner at a boxing session.

A group of local organisations have banded together to dull down the growing rate of youth crime in Armidale. 

Anneika McKenzie-Waters and Madi Moran.

Anneika McKenzie-Waters and Madi Moran.

The PCYC, Pathfinders, Juvenile Justice, Department of Education, New England Local Area Command together with Coles and Servies have put together a boxing program twice a week with the hope of attracting future leaders and getting kids back on track. 

Aboriginal Community Liaison Officer Will Green said the group of local organisations came together after local magistrate Michael Holmes expressed concern over the growing rate of juveniles committing crimes. 

“We have had the idea on the back burner for a while and we thought that now was the was time to get it up and running,” he said. 

“It is a group of people who just wanted to get involved in it and reduce crime.”

Green said it is not only about giving youth an outlet but creating routine with breakfast provided and talks with local health and government agencies to encourage the participants to lead better lifestyles. 

Pathfinders’ Tim Gray said an overwhelming amount of community members turned out. 

“For the first session we were hoping for 10 kids and there was 42,” he said. 

“We are starting to see a core group of kids that will consistently start to come and some of those older kids that are starting to show some leadership qualities and that is a large portion of what this is about, the youth leading the youth.”

Representatives from each of the organisations turn out to the 6am sessions. 

The program relies on volunteers and Green urged Armidale to get behind it by signing up to PCYC or donating resources. 

“We are starting to see regular faces but the more people that can come and get involved, the better the program can be,” he said. 

“It is a community project and it is only going to be as successful as the community will let it, if the community doesn't get involved, the program is going to fall over.”