NEWCASTLE home and business owners can apply to have graffiti removed by young offenders as part of a council program expansion.
"The expansion will allow any private citizen in Newcastle to, via the lodgement of a form at the City of Newcastle website, request for young offenders to come out and remove graffiti free of charge," City of Newcastle CEO Jeremy Bath said.
The program is part of a "long-standing partnership" between the City of Newcastle and Youth Justice NSW.
"Until now the program has always been restricted to the young offenders removing the graffiti from City of Newcastle assets. But we know that for a lot of people the effort and cost of removing is actually beyond them."
Initially being implemented as a 12-month trial, the expanded program "enables young people who have been through the court system to pay back to the community" according to Newcastle Youth Justice Community Office Area Manager Damian Baker.
"One of the benefits of the partnership is that funding from the Newcastle council allows young people a pathway into education, vocation and leading into employment prospects," he said.
"Repainting is mainly what we do but high pressure cleaning is another way."
Mr Baker said offenders will predominantly be between the ages of 16 and 18 who may have committed a "myriad of offences". He said the program is aimed at "reducing the number of young people who are incarcerated".
Part-owner of Wellfit Personal Training Jake Lewis, who had graffiti removed from his business through the program on Tuesday, said it is "a great idea".
"As a business owner a big part of our advertisement is people driving past every day," he said.
"When people start to tag the side of the building it's unfortunate because it reflects badly on what's inside."
Mr Lewis said graffiti has always been an issues for his business and recently the issue worsened.
"In the last couple of weeks it has really started to pick up. I might only just be noticing it now but lately when I've walked past it seems to be everywhere."
One of the young offenders involved in the program told the Newcastle Herald he "gets a lot of satisfaction" out of removing the graffiti and hopes it will lead to employment with Newcastle council.
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