Midnight games hit the spot

WHILE playing basketball at midnight might not sound like the way to keep troubled youth off the streets, an innovative program coming to Liverpool this month plans to do just that.

Midnight Basketball Australia chief executive Tess White said the program, which will be launched in Liverpool on February 14, is aimed at giving young people something positive to do on Friday nights.

"Friday and Saturday nights are the highest risk periods of the week, and it's good to give young people something to do on those nights," Ms White said.

"It gives them a structured activity with no exposure to drugs and alcohol.

"Basketball is the magnet, but when the young people arrive they will be served a hot nutritious dinner and then participate in compulsory life skills workshops."

Ms White said these would be followed by three tournament games of basketball.

"The objective is to get youth to engage more with the community and provide them with some life skills as well," she said.

Workshops will cover subjects such as risk, financial literacy, life skills and leadership.

"We will also have sessions about applying for jobs and putting together a resume."

The sessions will be held at the Michael Wenden Aquatic Centre, Miller, from 7.30pm on Friday nights for eight weeks, with participants to be taken home by bus at the end of the night.

Liverpool councillor Tony Hadchiti last year put in a notice of motion to bring the program to Liverpool.

"There are many parts of Liverpool where young people don't have anything to do at night, and that could possibly lead to them doing something untoward," Cr Hadchiti said.

"This will put them in a safe environment, give them a healthy meal and important life skills.

"There are some troubled young people in Liverpool who may benefit from this, but this will also be good for the young people on the right track but are just starting to stray a little."

Anyone interested in participating in or volunteering can go to midnightbasketball.org.au/Liverpool.

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