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There’s trust on Porirua streets around Midnight

May 19th, 2010 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

midnightMAINYoung people in Porirua are looking after each other more than they were a year ago thanks to Midnight Express youth workers.

An emotional Kim Barnden, pictured, talks of witnessing youth looking out for other youth, and walking each other home.

“We are seeing more role modelling going on – the youth say that is what Midnight Express does for them,” Mrs Barnden says of the youth workers from The Gospel church, Tai Manino, Wesley, Whanau Centre and the Porirua City Council.

Every Friday and Saturday, the Midnight Express team patrols the streets of Porirua east between 10pm and 4am.

They engage with youth who are intoxicated, need protection or just need someone to talk to, says Mrs Barnden, who believes they have built trust with the young people in the past 12 months.

“We just want to know, why they are out so late, why can’t they be at home?”

They deal with issues such as drunken youth, transport and youth safety.

Sometimes they provide street kids with biscuits and Milo, but only to sober them up.

Mrs Barnden has come across many kids who walk the streets unattended in the early hours of the morning.

She says Midnight Express doesn’t want youth to get that false sense of security in the neighbourhood.

“We don’t want them to feel too safe.”

She cites a  youth worker performing CPR on a pregnant 18-year-old who had been attacked. The young woman had to be taken to hospital by ambulance.

Midnight Express members encourage the youth they meet to do activities during the day, like visiting learning centres and preparing CVs.

She says this is especially so for youth who are experiencing or have experienced minor or major problems.

“I think youth need to realise the amazing qualities they have,” she says. “We don’t want to see them slipping.”

Midnight Express is operating in Porirua East from Ascot Park to Mungavin but aims to expand to western Porirua.

Mrs Barnden says she would love to see less drinking and fewer disputes in the community.

Funding to keep Midnight Express alive comes from the Ministry of Youth Development.

Midnight Express is keen to get feedback from the community, says Mrs Barnden.

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