Clarence puts youth first with brand new $6.5m PCYC Grafton
MEMBERS of the Clarence Valley community, the police force and local and national government came together for the official opening of the Grafton PCYC on Friday.
The $6.5 million flagship facility is the largest of its kind outside of metropolitan Sydney and will become a hub for Clarence youth.
Speaking among ministers, police chiefs and PCYC NSW CEO Dom Teakle, 15-year-old Callum Darcy reflected on the impact PCYC Grafton has had on his life.
“I’ve been a member of the PCYC Grafton for a while now and looking back, it really has come a long way,” Darcy said.
“I’ve been here since the start when I joined the Fit for Life program and during my experience I’ve learnt that I can trust people in the PCYC group.
“I feel supported when I’m at the PCYC group, and I’d like to thank Uncle John, Tammy, Joe, Dan, Jamie and last but not least, Tyson. He’s put in so much effort for us kids on the new building.
“Everyone at PCYC goes to great lengths to help each other out. That’s what I like about it. You come here and you put everything aside and focus on the task at hand. You can have fun, you can laugh.”
PCYC NSW CEO Dom Teakle said while small change can seem insignificant, the ongoing impacts can change tens of thousands of people’s lives.
“It takes a village to raise a child. While the saying is born in another continent, in my understanding, in particular of Indigenous culture, family is at the centre of everything that is important,” Mr Teakle said.
“That connection to mother Earth has created that strong sense of connection here to the PCYC.
“They say if you effect one child’s life, you can influence up to 80,000 people. If we can change the life of one young person, think of the generational change that can make to this community. That is what we are trying to do with PCYC here in Grafton.”
Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis said he has been impressed with the multipurpose facility, housing a gymnastics hall, a boxing room, gyms, basketball courts, a youth hub and meeting rooms.
“This Government has committed close to $80 million towards PCYC club infrastructure programs and staff across the state since 2011. Today we see this outstanding place of recreation and activity delivered to this regional community and its young people,” Mr Gulaptis said.
“The facility will be an important resource allowing the community and its youth to positively engage with police and each other.”
Police and Emergency Services Minister David Elliot said it is always clear to see when someone has come through the PCYC system.
“We often reflect on how experience with PCYC has assisted on people’s lives. You can always tell those young people who took the opportunity when it’s given to them and this is that opportunity for the youth here in Grafton,” Mr Elliot said.
The former Corrections Minister awarded Grafton its brand new correctional facility, but hoped the PCYC would help guide Clarence youth away from trouble.
“It’s the largest PCYC in the state. My previous job as Corrections Minister I gave Grafton the largest prison in the state, so it’s fitting I came back here to give them the largest PCYC. Let’s hope kids go to this one and not the other,” he said.
“To give young kids a chance in this life, they need a good square meal, they need someone who loves them enough to say no and they need some organisation in their life and PCYC does that.”