The beat goes on for youth bus
IT LOOKS like the Street Beat bus will be back on the road as early as February.
But the operator of the youth service, which was taken off the road last year because of funding cuts, is still to be confirmed.
However, the Ballina District Community Services Association (BDCSA), which operated Street Beat from its inception 12 years ago, has been announced as the preferred provider for the $45,000 funding from NSW Human Services.
Executive officer for the BDCSA, Dianna Howell, said if the organisation is successful in the negotiations, ‘the new funding will enable BDCSA to operate the service one night on the weekend’.
“BDCSA will continue to look at additional funding sources and partner to reinstate Ballina Street Beat to provide two nights – Friday and Saturday – as previously was the case,” she said.
“We will keep the public informed and we would like to thank everyone for their support in getting this valuable service back in operations for the young people in the Ballina Local Government Area.”
Matthew Tantarri, the youth service officer for the Ballina District Community Services Association, said it would be great to see Street Beat back on the road.
“I think that anyone under the age of 25 has seen the Street Beat van across the shire helping young people – it was a very public service,” he said. “Street Beat was proactive in removing young people from areas of risk, transporting them into safe environments.
“The quicker the bus is back on the road, the better. Ballina is growing, Lennox is growing – there is a need. We were the only after-hours youth service, and we want to get that back.”
Meanwhile, Matthew was appointed the BDCSA’s youth service officer late last year.
The 22-year-old went to Ballina High School before moving to Sydney where he worked at a youth service.
He said he has ‘seen the good stuff, and the bad stuff’, but is excited about the possibilities for youth in the shire.
He said the message he would like to send to youth is that ‘we care for you and want the best for you’.
“I want to help in any way possible to make your dream a reality,” he said.
The next major event for youth is Youth Week to be held in April.