Young people are still struggling to come to terms with the recent deaths of two of their friends in suspected drugs-related incidents, YMCA leader Darryn Causby has said.
Mr Causby, speaking in the same week as the centre celebrates planning approval recommendation for its new centre, said the deaths of Caitlin White (Shortland) and Shane Richardson had a profound effect on their peers.
Caitlin (15) died in May after collapsing at woodland in Corcrain while Shane (16) died in the Brownstown area in August. Both were in the same friendship group.
“I was talking to two young people in the centre recently, who have been greatly affected by Shane and Caitlin’s deaths. Myself and another leader just sat and talked things through with them,” said Mr Causby.
“They both want to be youth leaders when they are older.”
He said drugs, educational attainment and aspiration are the three biggest issues that he encounters among young people.
“I honestly think if we could solve the aspiration problem, the other issues would just fall away - if young people believed in themselves, if they believed they could actually achieve.”
He added, “Drugs in particular is an issue in the whole town that is too big for one organisation to solve.
“The YMCA has 22 community partners and we all work together and need to continue to work together.”