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The City of Sydney has contributed $12,500 to Midnight Basketball for Redfern-Waterloo, an innovative sports program which aims to give young people life skills while diverting them from crime and anti-social behaviour.

The program begins this month at Alexandria Park Community School's indoor basketball court with matches played on Saturday nights between 7.30pm and midnight. The competition is open to local young people aged 12 to 18 years.

All players must first attend pre-games workshops to be eligible to compete. The workshops will be tailored to various age groups and address issues including goal setting, health issues including nutrition and substance abuse, anger management, conflict resolution, employment, relationships, and self esteem.

The program began in the United States in 1986 and now has approximately 10,000 young people taking part. It is operating at 40 locations across Great Britain.

Cr Marcelle Hoff attended the program launch on Wednesday and represents the City on the Board of the Sydney Community Foundation, which contributed a further $20,000 to the program. The City of Sydney sponsors the Sydney Community Foundation though $150,000 funding over three years.

Redfern Police, the Department of Housing, local youth services and several community, Aboriginal, sporting and church organisations are supporting the program. The NRMA and the West Sydney Razorbacks basketball team are providing cash and in-kind support. The Redfern Waterloo Authority also donated $5,000 to the program.

CLOVER'S eNEWS - Friday 10 February 2006 - No. 283