Challenge Community Services and council agree to terms for buyback centre and youth training facility

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A Tamworth based youth program to keep young males out of prison has been given the green light by council, and could be operating within two months.

The program, which is yet to be officially named, is based on Armidale's highly successful Backtrack Youth Works, and has become a passion for Challenge Community Services CEO Barry Murphy.

While Backtrack is based around rural skills, the Tamworth program will centre around a community buyback centre and youth training facility, which will see items removed, or captured from the local Waste Management Facility and refurbished, recycled, up-cycled, re-used or broken down for sale to the public.

"It is marvellous that we can get going on this - it has been two years in the making," Mr Murphy said.

"The program will take young males that have been expelled from the education system and are on the road to prison, and look to teach them skills that will give them an edge, and a chance, to get into the workforce and be part of the community."

The program hopes to be entirely funded by the Container Deposit Scheme, with Challenge and council receiving a shared 10 cents for every container collected in kerbside recycling.

"At the moment that is about $200,000 a year - we did hope it would be more, but it is a good start," Mr Murphy said.

"We really want to get the word out there to residents that by putting containers in the yellow lidded bins you will be helping to fund this program, and employing people with disabilities at the recycling centre.

"We will also be taking a lot of volume out of the waste stream and increasing the life of the tip."

Another difference between Backtrack and the Tamworth buyback centre will be that the youth will be officially employed and paid under a traineeship.

A site in West Tamworth is already under offer from Challenge to set up the facility, however Mr Murphy's vision is to see a new facility built on the site of the old abattoirs, east of the Waste Facility, on Forrest Road within two years.

Article by Chris Bath, Northern Daily Leader published June 16th 2019

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