Ian has been the chief organiser of Kommunity Kids, an activity that helps young people living in Shorewell Park. Not only is this Burnie suburb ranked in the lowest decile on the ABS Socio-Economic Index among all 55,000 Statistical Areas (“SA”) for Australia; it has been the second lowest of all SA’s in regard to this Index.
Ian said he began working as a special community orientated police officer in Burnie in 2008. He is now a Board Member of Burnie Community House in Shorewell Park and a member of Somerset Rotary Club. He grew up in the Blacktown area of Sydney, not the most salubrious part of that city; he reckons he was a ‘bit of a larrikin’. He readily emphasises with the Shorewell kids – something young police officers these days can fail to do, as they often lack that background.
The Kommunity Kids program runs every Wednesday afternoon. Children and parents turn up, ride bikes on a special bike track, play football, cricket, grab a sausage or some soup. Ian said the bike track concept came about after some kids began raising money for its construction. With intersections, a roundabout and traffic lights, kids are taught the ‘two-second’ rule (the proper distance behind the vehicle in front of you). Thus, they learn the road rules long before they step behind the wheel of a car.
In the beginning, Ian said there was a lot of angry behaviour in Shorewell, but he believes strongly in doing things with people, not to people. Thus, he said, find some activity that a child may find interesting and a challenge, and so build the person’s self-esteem. The Kommunity Kids playground area now has an outdoor chess table and recently, Ian saw two boys – well known for being troublesome – sitting very quietly playing chess.
Past President Themba Bulle presented Ian with a cheque for $1,500 to aid in the good work he does for the Shorewell Park community.