Halls Creek facilities are being upgraded to tackle juvenile delinquency, connect through sports and the arts

A Kimberley-shire high on juvenile delinquency has outlined big plans to engage young people through sport and the arts.

In Halls Creek it is common for children to roam the streets until the early hours and while attendance at the local secondary school has improved, the criticality remains low.

Juvenile delinquency reached record levels at the end of last year, but offenses have fallen significantly in recent months and police have fewer children on the streets.

However, the problem of youth withdrawal persists, partly caused by high rates of overcrowding and domestic violence.

Shire of Halls Creek’s new CEO Phillip Cassell, who has only been in the position for a few months, has made it his goal to increase the range of activities offered to children and residents.

He has hired a dedicated manager for the county recreation area to oversee an upgrade to the oval, pool and gym, paving the way for more events and activities.

“We are working to have programs delivered to the sports and recreation center until 10 p.m.,” Cassell said.

“So we can deal with those kids until then and we can control where they go from then on.”

A football oval on the edge of an outback city
The Halls Creek Recreation Area will be renovated to clear the way for more community activities.ABC Kimberley: Ted O’Connor

Design skate park, BMX pump track

Mr Cassell said the county would encourage young people to help design a proposed skate park and BMX pump track, as well as an artistic makeover of the Main Street and Pioneer Park.

“Once the artwork is done, the role of the elderly could be to give those stories back to the young children,” he said.

A handmade red and black AFL bomber poster.
Young people are invited to create works of art for the main street.ABC Kimberley: Hannah Barry

Despite its social disadvantage, Halls Creek has a national reputation as an AFL/AFLW “football factory”.

Sport is seen as a crucial way to improve the lives of people who have grown up in poverty.

Halls Creek Hawks coach Craig Dempsey described the council’s renewed focus on sports infrastructure as a “new start”.

“If we can run this oval and have it fully established, it will give future Halls Creek players the confidence to run around any other oval in the community,” he said.

“You always have to do something for the youngster. Ultimately, that’s how you lead your future.”

The Halls Creek grass oval at night with lights shining on the field.
Halls Creek Shire plans to upgrade the oval to encourage more athletic participation in the city.ABC news

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