Help for Willmot youth

WHILE many viewers would have watched last year's A Current Affair story of youths terrorising the streets of Willmot in shock or disgust, Father Chris Riley felt compelled to act.

The Youth Off the Streets founder was recently at Willmot to launch a youth outreach.

It's the fifth to be opened after Youth Off the Streets received $5 million from the government's National Crime Prevention Fund last April.

Young people can come to Willmot Reserve on Tuesdays and Fridays from 4pm for an afternoon of sport, art, music and dance plus a free meal.

Father Riley hopes to reduce youth crime and unemployment rates in Willmot.

"I see it as an area where we can make a big difference," he said.

"These kids need someone to believe in them. I wasn't shocked by the footage but you need to ask why they're doing it and why the world is so bad to them.

"That concerned me more than anything."

Youth Off the Streets set up an outreach in Macquarie Fields after the 2005 riots.

"In 12 months the youth crime rate had dropped by 40 per cent," he said.

The Willmot program will be funded for two years.

"By then we want to see the participants in education or employment — not in jail or juvenile detention," he said.

Volunteers are needed to help run the service.

Details: 9330 3500.

WILLMOT Outreach will run from the Blacktown office which runs the following services:

■ Doonside: Bert Saunders Reserve, Mondays from 5pm.

■ Willmot: Willmot Reserve, Tuesdays and Fridays from 4pm.

■ Blacktown: Alpha Park, Wednesdays from 6pm, Thursdays from 5pm.

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