Unlikely trio team up to provide hub for young people
A COP, musician and social worker have teamed up to help fill a gap in Lismore's community for its young people.
Hip hop artist Blake "Teddy” Rhodes jumped at the chance to collaborate with Senior Constable Lachlan Bransgrove and Francis O'Neill of Social Futures to launch an youth night initiative through the Police Citizens Youth Club.
When he was a teenager growing up in Lismore, Mr Rhodes through his friends discovered an after-school youth connections group, which he said helped shape the musician and person he is today.
He said the initiative facilitated a great place to hang out with his mates and equipped him with life skills such as learning how to cook.
"Lismore definitely needs something sort of like what I had back in the day,” Mr Rhodes said.
"I was one of those kids who fell into those bad habits until I found youth connections.”
Snr Const Bransgrove said the hub would be crucial to reducing anti-social behaviour around Lismore by providing various activities to engage youth.
"(The hub is) about trying to find something that they can get involved in, trying to find something that takes them away from needing to do that kind of behaviour because they have an outlet somewhere else,” Snr Const Bransgrove said.
Mr Rhodes, who also mentors school-students and holds workshops around the community, wants to bring his talents to the table to engage with Lismore's youth.
He said the combined experience of the three men would create a constructive avenue to guide and support Lismore's young people through their teens.
"It's about giving them options and that there's a whole lot of things out there, you just have to find what they want,” Mr Rhodes said.
Snr Const Bransgrove said setbacks such as the March floods have pushed back the launch of the hub.
Now, he said they have regrouped and brainstormed ideas like hosting a weekly touch football match in Lismore to get young people out of the house and out in the community.
Mr O'Neill said last week he and Snr Const Bransgrove started visiting high schools to "get the word out” about the hub and ask what youth want from the initiative.
For more information about the PCYC youth hub contact 0488 013 909.