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FOOTY CODES UNITEFOR SAFER STREETS

Posted 26/11/2018

COURTESY THE CAIRNS POST

FOOTY codes are set to march as one and offer misguided youth a sense of belonging so they can be positive influences in the community.

More than 200 members of rugby league and rugby union clubs will run from Mooroobool to Manunda on February 15 and organiser Rob Hodge said he was willing to stop traffic to let people know sports clubs were eager to take an active role in empowering young people.

The “Street to Sports” initiative has the support of the Queensland Government’s Cairns Safer Streets Task Force and Cairns Regional Council.

Hodge, an NRL development officer for Cape York with a community work background, said the “circuit” aimed to send a message to young people in need of direction.

“We want all these kids to see these blokes running through the community and say: ‘The police have had enough, youth justice have had enough, the people you’re living next door to have had enough as well,” he said.

“But rather than just pointing out an issue, we’re saying ‘listen, here’s what we can do’.”

Cairns Regional Council Division 3 councillor Cathy Zeiger said it was exciting to see sports clubs taking ownership of solving societal issues.

“The idea of getting strong men that are good role models to get around these kids ... makes a statement to say: ‘We’re here for you and you’re better than this’,” she said.

“It takes a whole village to raise a kid. Not everyone’s situation is perfect, but if you can get around some positive people that want to lift you up and spend time with you, that’s a good thing and can help you overcome any situation.”

Cairns Safer Streets Task Force project manager Stephen Tillett said sport was an ideal tool to drive social change.

The demonstration will start at Kangaroos Rugby League Club before moving to Cairns West State School, Trinity Bay State High School and finally Brothers Rugby League Club, Manunda.