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Touch football empowers youth on and off field

Bundaberg QPS touch football program
QPS officers and staff at the Youth in Touch finals at Bundaberg touch grounds. Photo: contributed.

Bundaberg Police have scored at the Queensland Touch Football Awards this week for their work in developing the ‘Youth in Touch’ program.

‘Youth in Touch’ is an 8-week touch football program targeted towards disengaged and high-risk juveniles, with the goal of diverting them from further anti-social and criminal activities.

The program is one of the first early intervention programs to receive funding under the Queensland Government’s newly formed $4 million Youth Development Partnership Fund.

Senior Constable Britt Duncan and Senior Constable Michael Lederhose from Bundaberg Police were commended for their dedication to the program and were awarded the ‘Inclusion in Touch Football’ award.

The initiative fosters positive interactions between young people and Queensland Police Service (QPS) officers, who are also qualified touch football coaches.

Participants receive comprehensive touch football training, starting from beginner level, ensuring inclusivity for all skill levels.

Youth also participate in a finals day and play alongside QPS officers, shaping their perception of the officers as both police and teammates and forging positive relationships.

In addition to focusing on sports, fitness, and health, QPS officers dedicate time to educating and answering questions about the QPS and general policing.

Senior Constable Britt Duncan said she was humbled to receive the award and feels the program is only just getting started on its journey to empowering the youth of Bundaberg.

“The program goes beyond sports—it’s about breaking down barriers and building connections,” she said.

“Being a coach and mentor in this program is about building trust, and when these kids see us as allies, it paves the way for positive interactions beyond the program.

“We’re not just coaching a sport, we’re coaching life skills.

“It’s about teamwork, discipline, and resilience, values that extend far beyond the touch football field.

“As we wrap up this season, I’m filled with pride seeing the impact.

“The connections formed here are the building blocks of a stronger, more united Bundaberg community.”

Following the resounding success of the 2023 program, Youth in Touch will run again in 2024 with support provided through the Youth Development Partnership Fund.

For further information on the Youth Development Partnership Fund please visit the website here.

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