• Yarrie Yarns profiles local people in the Yarrabah community to help promote positivity. (David Frew)
In a community often associated with crime and dysfunction, a social media project profiling the characters of Yarrabah is promoting pride and positivity.
By
Ella Archibald-Binge

7 Jul 2017 - 2:49 PM  UPDATED 7 Jul 2017 - 2:49 PM

Over the past few years, Yarrabah policemen Adam Frew and David Coffey noticed a familiar pattern when they turned up at the station to start their shifts. 

"You'd come into work some days and there'd be like two or three people already there saying 'oh someone said something about me on Facebook'," says senior constable David Coffey. 

"There was a lot of misuse of social media basically... which turned into a family fight, or a fight between the kids or the elders," adds fellow senior constable Adam Frew. 

During one nightshift, the pair - who between them have worked in Yarrabah for over a decade - devised a strategy to combat the negativity.

Inspired by the hugely popular Humans of New York project, they started a Facebook and Instagram page, Yarrie Yarns, to profile the achievements and stories of people within the local community.

"We knew there were thousands of stories from Yarrabah with all the different community members and what people have done in the past and what people are doing now, so we thought it'd be a good concept to use," says senior constable Frew.

A different person is profiled each week, including former boxers, artists, footy players, paramedics and police liaison officers. 

Since its launch in February, the page has clocked up more than 1500 followers - almost half the number of Yarrabah's population of around 4000. 

Yarrabah Mayor Ross Andrews was one of the first to be featured, and says the project is making an impact.

"The opposite of lateral violence is lateral love, and Yarrie Yarns have really promoted that," Mr Andrews told NITV News. 

"It really sends a positive message to the community - hang on, good things are happening in Yarrabah and we've got to celebrate those successes."

Police relations, too, have improved.

"Since the site started, we've actually started getting a lot of community members starting to approach us a lot more with intel, or information about what's happening, whereas before they wouldn't say anything," says senior constable Frew. 

Adam and David hope the concept can expand into other regions, but it's going to take time and effort.

"The community itself is sick of negative media getting out there, because whenever something negative happens here it gets told on the news or the newspaper, so they are loving the fact that something positive from Yarrabah's happening," senior constable Frew says.