Assistant Police Commissioner for the North West region Luke Cornelius has joined police from the northern and western suburbs, coming together with kids from the Les Twentyman Foundation, for a game of cricket at Merv Hughes oval.
“The match is a great way of connecting police and young people, helping them to see each other as people, with team sport a great way of building community, teaching us all to think of others” said Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius.
Les Twentyman Foundation founder, Les Twentyman said the event, now in its 11th year is all aimed at breaking down barriers between youth and police, teaching a little about each other, teamwork and a lot about respect, not only for authority but for ourselves and the community we all share.
“We were seeing a lot of division between police and kids in the local area and wanted to break down these barriers and sport is a great way to connect people, have them see each other in a positive light and ultimately build stronger communities,” said Mr Twentyman.
Still buzzing from the Australian women’s World Cup victory in front of 86,000 people was former international cricketer and 2010 member of the Australian World Cup winning team Sarah Elliott, who along with former Victorian State player Graeme Vimpani, was on hand to provide some cricketing advice to the eager youngsters.
“Sport is an empowering builder of community spirit creating role modelling and support for networks for young people, with today a great opportunity to be part of the fantastic work the Les Twentyman Foundation does with young Victorians,” said Ms Elliott.
Mr Vimpani said that sport could be a terrific way of building the self-esteem of young people, with it having an important influence on his life and from the smiles he saw on the day had no doubt will do so for many of the kids who participated.
The Les Twentyman Foundation’s CEO, Renee Hancock said the foundation had a long history of engaging with youth through sport and the purpose of the event was to improve the relationships and understanding between police and young people in a fun and supportive environment.
“It’s a great opportunity for connection, for the kids to see the human side of policing and that police are people like you and I,” said Ms Hancock.
Ms Hancock also passed on her thanks to the Footscray Cricket Club, who provided the venue, equipment and lunch for the players and their supporters and the Australian Cricketers Association, both key in helping to create a successful event.
Also in attendance to show her support for the Cops ‘N” Kids cricket match was Footscray MP Katie Hall who offered thanks to the dozens of members of Victoria police who were in attendance and spoke of the work of the Les Twentyman Foundation in changing the lives of thousands of children.
As for the result, well the winner was the community, with new relationships formed and police and the youths walking away with a deeper respect and understanding for each other.