Malmsbury residents fed up with the negative impact the youth justice centre is having on the town have banded together to inject some positivity back into the area.
Tiffany Speight has lived in the town for 11 years and said the community was frustrated as there was yet another incident at the Malmsbury Youth Justice Centre.
“From what I’m seeing is nothing seems to be changing and the violence seems to be ramping up,” she said.
It is the latest in a string of incidents at the centre, which Ms Speight said was having a big impact on the town, from affecting business trade, to increasing insurance premiums, to creating stress in children.
“Unfortunately we have choppers that go over really low and the school is quite close,” she said. “Kids are getting nervous now and I don’t blame them.”
Ms Speight said she had to explain what was happening to her nine-year-old daughter on Sunday after the area was swamped with police and news crews.
“We’re telling the kids to behave yet these kids continue to misbehave and our kids aren’t seeing any consequences,” she said.
Tired of seeing all the focus on the detention centre, Ms Speight and her husband launched a group called The Malmsbury Project at the end of last year.
“We thought, why don’t we try to do something for the community and make people feel jolly,” she said.
The group has been supported by the Macedon Ranges Shire Council and is hopeful of attracting help from the government.
“We’re trying to show everyone there is a positive and we have things going on,” Ms Speight said.
The group now has a larger team and at the end of last year they brought carols to Malmsbury along with an Easter egg hunt this year where more than 300 children attended.
“It was an absolutely beautiful day – we had 800 people attend and a lot of people stayed on in our town,” Ms Speight said.
A comic day is planned for the near future along with salsa dancing and a collaborative arts demonstration, which will encourage youth in the area to share their vision for the town.
“We want people to know it’s safe to come to Malmsbury and it’s a beautiful little heritage town,” Ms Speight said.
For more information, visit the The Malmsbury Project Facebook page.