BackTrack to expand to Tamworth through container deposit scheme

VISIT: BackTrack participants Phil Pickford, Breton Nean, Kane Dawson and the BackTrack dogs during a recent visit to Tamworth. Photo: Peter Hardin 131217PHC041

VISIT: BackTrack participants Phil Pickford, Breton Nean, Kane Dawson and the BackTrack dogs during a recent visit to Tamworth. Photo: Peter Hardin 131217PHC041

THERE’S now just one more great reason to recycle, with the news Challenge Community Services will turn trash into transformative programs for youth at risk.

Chief executive officer Barry Murphy has announced that Challenge will funnel its Container Deposit Scheme takings into a new Tamworth branch of the hugely successful Armidale program, BackTrack.

So if residents entrust their bottles and can to their yellow bins, the proceeds will be used to get young people onto a better path.

And as in some past cases, that could mean anything from keeping a young person out of trouble with the law, or maybe even jail, to guiding them towards university and the opportunities that lie beyond.

As the saying (sort of) goes, saving one person won’t change the world, but it will change the world for that one person.

And the BackTrack program has had a profound impact on many, many young people who – for whatever reason – were not engaged in school, work or society.

BackTrack founder Bernie Shakeshaft says more than 1000 young people have gone through the program, and they stay “as long as it takes to get that kid through”, he says. 

“These are not short-fix problems, but what we model really works.”

BackTrack aims for positive results from many different angles, including involving young people in its dog high-jumping team, PawsUp; and its welding workshop Iron Man Welders, to name just two.

The participants, male and female, have the chance to work towards nationally recognised certificates, gain a job with the organisation itself, and simply re-engage with their education, peers and society.

Of course, many people will no doubt still be keen to try out the new return-and-earn reverse vending machines for themselves, just for the fun of it or maybe to make a few quick bucks.

But it’s great to know that going the relatively lazy route will have such a great potential impact.

Just rinse out those plastic and glass bottles, and cans, and place them undamaged and with the label attached into your recycling, and help Challenge raise its hoped-for $400,000 a year for the life-changing program.

We wish BackTrack all the best in establishing its presence in Tamworth, and look forward to reporting on many more events, programs and success stories here in years to come.

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