Funds force charity’s closure

Headshot of Jakeb Waddell
Jakeb WaddellBroome Advertiser

A struggle for funding and volunteers has taken its toll on a Broome not-for-profit organisation that puts food in the mouth of children, which was forced to shut down earlier this month.

Feed the Little Children was established by chief executive Clinton Durham five years ago, with the aim of reducing the crime rate in Broome by feeding about 400 disadvantaged children who would often turn to theft in order to obtain a nutritious meal.

Mr Durham’s move to Perth made it difficult for him to continue to promote the organisation and maintain volunteers.

Though Member for the Kimberley Josie Farrer has supported the organisation in the past, Mr Durham said FTLC had yet to receive any long-term funding.

Despite this, Mr Durham remains positive about reopening in the future.

“We have done what we said we would do when we started and that is to reduce the number of children being charged with property crimes,” he said.

“It was very difficult managing the organisation while based in Perth as we have struggled to maintain our Kimberley networks and our applications for funding.

“While we have a fantastic volunteer committee in Broome and very good part-time co-ordinator, after years without full-time support it was getting harder and harder.”

FTLC committee chairman Graham Varischetti said it had been difficult for the handful of volunteers in Broome to juggle the activities of the organisation with their full-time jobs.

“It has been difficult having our CEO away in Perth,” he said.

“While the volunteers who have helped out have been fantastic, Broome is a transit town so there are only a handful of long-term volunteers.

“If we have the funds to reopen in the future, FTLC desperately needs more help from the community.

“Although you’re doing your part for somebody else, volunteering is also self-fulfilling as you’re helping disadvantaged children who cannot help themselves.

“There is absolutely a need to reopen this very worthwhile cause.”

According to a report conducted by the University of Western Australia, the rate of juveniles processed for stealing and burglary offences on non-FTLC days was more than double than the days when food was delivered by FTLC.

Mr Durham believes this reflected the need to reopen, but recognised the need for government support.

“The downstream effects of what we do will be felt in Broome for many years,” he said.

“We need much greater support and commitment from the new Labor Government.”

Mr Durham urged community members supporting the reopening of FTLC to contact Ms Farrer.

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