A local indigenous mother has made a desperate plea for funding for the Youth Involvement Council’s Mingle Mob service.
As reported in the North West Telegraph in February, the youth patrol service which picks up at-risk youths from the streets at night and takes them somewhere safe was forced to close because of a lack of constant funding.
South Hedland resident Tabarena Waddaman said she had resorted to walking the streets herself at night to try and get local children home safely.
“I’ve been out until 2am or 3am walking around trying to get the kids to bring them home,” she said.
“I’m an old woman and I’m diabetic, it’s not safe for me to be walking that far at night.
“We need the Mingle bus back on the streets to pick up these kids and make sure they get home safely.”
Mrs Waddamn said she saw “heaps” of kids out on the streets of South Hedland every night she was out on her own patrol.
“I’ve seen kids climbing the roofs of the buildings near Coles… or they just sit at the skate park and get themselves into trouble,” she said.
“They need that bus to come and pick them up before they get into fights or break something in the community.”
According to YIC manager Vicki Tree, some children had resorted to getting home in the Bloodwood Tree Association’s community patrol bus.
That service was aimed at picking up intoxicated adults.
“It’s just sad that it’s come to that, Mingle Mob never took on intoxicated people, so we could offer the kids a safe way of getting home,” she said.
“When Mingle Mob was running we worked hand-in-hand with the Bloodwood Tree patrol.
“The services complemented each other, and that’s what we need to see back on the streets.”
For Mrs Waddaman, the sooner the funding comes for Mingle Mob, the better for children’s safety.