Friday 7 May 2010

Youth mentoring scheme trivia night sold out

In what is pleasing news for the cash-strapped Cairns Youth Mentoring Scheme that lost government funding last year, their annual trivia night fundraiser looks like it will be a sell-out success.

"Already close to 300 have booked for our annual fundraiser," Damian Zammit, president says. "This is the first major public event for the newly reformed organisation. We apologise in advance to those that may turn up who haven't booked. What it shows is that there is great support for the mentoring programme in Cairns."

In September last year, a community management committee was set up in an effort to save the programme from closing, that has been operating for 10 years..

"We have been over-whelmed in the support from the local business community by sponsoring the trivia night. It is very heartening to see them getting behind this very valuable programme." Damian Zammit says.

Close to $10,000 in prizes and support has been gifted, as business have rallied to help the event, being held at the Reef Casino Hotel on Saturday evening. Last year the Federal Government funding was not renewed, and joined other community facilities like the Douglas House Rehabilitation Centre and the Far North Queensland Consultative Committee, that assisted small business operators.

"We need to fund our administrative office and also various aspects of the programme including liability insurance and training for mentors," Damian Zammit says. "It's absolutely vital this is done professionally, especially when we match adults with children."

The scheme is still seeking foundation funding to run and administer the programme.

"Last week we met with Federal MP Jim Turnour who has said he will support the programme. We asked for a formal meeting and an introduction with Council," Damian Zammit said. "It was a positive meeting."

Turnour apologised to Zammit and Jenny Compton from the youth mentoring management committee, for funding going elsewhere. "I'm prepared to take the hit for that," Turnour said. "Being a politician means you have to have broad shoulders, but it wasn't my wish and it wasn't my intention, and I'm certainly working to get the funds."

Turnour said he was aware of the criticism and said that the programme should still be running.

"Just because the monies are not there, please understand that I believe in what you're doing," Turnour told the representatives. "We are looking into this [support]. I understand that the Cairns economy, which is your funding base, is doing it really tough. So I know it's going to be hard for you to get money out there," Jim Turnour said.

The LNP candidate for Leichhardt Warren Entsch, says that Jim Turnour didn't have the political courage and decency to fight for the programme while it was still operating.

"It would have been far more effective if he had written to the relevant Minister and his Parliamentary colleague, demanding that the funding continue, and that he, like the rest of the Cairns community could see through the Mickey Mouse alternative that was proposed," Warren Entsch says. "It is of course pleasing to note Mr Turnour now has had a brain snap and finally accepts funding [the Cairns youth mentoring] would benefit both the scheme and the broader community."

"You only have to look at what has been achieved to date, to realize that’s not rocket science. The cynics amongst us may be excused that it may be more about a looming election than a social conscience that has prompted Turnour's sudden interest," Warren Entsch says. "If, after the next election, I again have the privilege of serving as the Federal member for Leichhardt, I will, as I have in the past, secure funding from the Federal Government to secure the long term future of our Cairns Youth Mentoring Scheme."

"It has now been over six months since we have matched mentors with young mentees, and it's our intention to hold the first training in June or July, so we can move ahead and get on with doing what our core role is," Damian Zammit says, and he would like to see the programme evolve to be owned by the people and businesses of Cairns.

_____________"We want businesses to get involved and to create synergies and extend the boundaries of what the programme has done in the past.

Essentially we need to get back to the nuts and bolts and get it back up and running. All the best intentions in the world mean nothing without funding."

- Damian Zammit, president
Cairns Youth Mentoring Scheme Inc

The youth mentoring scheme matches young people between the ages of 12-21 with adult mentors, who have personal issues, education, work or achievement problems.

"Our objective is to provide mentoring services and activities to improve the level of engagement of young people with family, education, training, the workplace and the community," Damian Zammit says. "Our outcomes are increased levels of self-esteem and resilience, along with opportunities for participation in community life. This gives young people leadership and communication skills."

Male mentors are particularly lacking and encouraged to apply. Financial or business sponsors are encouraged to contact the organisation.

  • Here's mentor Pip Collins with Beatrice, talking about what they both got out of the programme...

1 comment:


While we are at it where do you stand on this turnour ?
Calls for Turnour to clarify Wild Rivers position
Federal Opposition Spokesman on Northern Australia, Senator Ian Macdonald has called on Leichhardt MP Jim Turnour to stand up for the people of Cape York and support Tony Abbott’s Private Members Bill which aims to overturn the damaging Wild Rivers legislation.

The call comes in the wake of a report by the Anglican Church which found the Wild Rivers laws stifle legitimate indigenous economic opportunities and deprives indigenous communities of any prospect of opportunity to engage in real economy on traditional lands.

“This view mirrors much of the evidence given to a Senate Committee enquiry into the Wild Rivers (Environmental Management) Bill,” Senator Macdonald said.

Senator Macdonald said that following the findings of the Anglican Church’s report the Member for Leichhardt, Jim Turnour, needs to accept the social and economic harm these laws create and start standing up for his constituents on the Cape.

“Jim Turnour, on both his websites and in the Parliament, talks of the need for bi-partisan action to ‘close the gap’. Following the release of this report it would be hypocritical of Mr Turnour not to lobby his Government colleagues to support Tony Abbott’s Private Members Bill in a bi-partisan way,” Senator Macdonald said.

“On the 24th of March Mr Turnour held a joint press conference with Peter Garrett while he was visiting Cairns. At this conference Mr Garrett said he would be taking no notice of the Coalition plan to protect traditional owners from losing their hard won property rights.

“Indigenous communities in Cape York deserve to know whether or not Jim Turnour stands by his Minister’s statements of a month ago or whether he is committed to creating opportunities for indigenous Australians as he says on his website.

“The report from the Anglican Church is a clear, non-partisan statement on the shortcomings of the Wild Rivers Legislation, it needs to be taken seriously by the Rudd Government and the people of Leichhardt need to know what Mr Turnour is going to do about it,” Senator Macdonald said