11 September 2019

Far South Coast PCYC looking for permanent clubhouse

| Ian Campbell
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NSW PCYC, Chief Executive Officer, Dominic Teakle, Far South Coast PCYC Manager, Peter Cross, local leader Chloe Peck, and Detective Chief Inspector, Darren Newman. Photo: Ian Campbell.

NSW PCYC, Chief Executive Officer – Dominic Teakle, Far South Coast PCYC Manager – Peter Cross, local leader – Chloe Peck, Youth Case Manager and Senior Constable – Sarah Bancroft, and Detective Chief Inspector – Darren Newman. Photo: Ian Campbell.

The Far South Coast branch of the Police Citizens Youth Club (PCYC) is looking to sink deeper roots into the communities of the Eurobodalla and Bega Valley.

Inspired by the need they see, PCYC is looking to develop a home base that compliments its existing mobile service that takes in Eden, Bega, Narooma, Moruya, and Batemans Bay.

Archery, martial arts, boxing, box fit, physical culture, and bubble soccer are among a host of local activities underway at venues like Batemans Bay High School, Moruya Indoor Basketball Stadium, Narooma Indoor Sports Centre, and Campbell Page Eden.

However, the top brass is keen to build on that and create a permanent space for the service.

While addressing Bega Valley Shire Council this week, Detective Chief Inspector Darren Newman spoke of the need and surprised those listening with the crime stats he presented.

“In 2017 – 2018 we had an increase in the South Coast Police District for juvenile offending around assaults and sexual offences,” he says.

“We also had an increase in property offences around commercial break and enters and stealing from retail stores.

“If I break it down, Bega sits at number 4 in terms of [crime stats] suburbs across the South Coast PD.

“There’s Nowra, Ulladulla, and Batemans Bay and then Bega with 61 incidents in that 12 month period.

“Drug possession was another issue to come up, we have many young people using drugs. Often that would sit at number four or five on the [crimes] list but in Bega it sits at number two,” D/Chief Inspector Newman says.

In trying to explain the numbers, D/Chief Inspector Newman spoke of domestic violence, where Bega sits at number three in terms of children at risk notifications.

PCYC was established in 1937 as a partnership between local police, Rotary and the wider community. Over those 80 plus years, the idea has grown and now operates in 64 locations across NSW delivering sporting, recreational, healthy living, and education and employment programs that support young people.

“Some people have only ever had negative interactions with police,” says Dominic Teakle, NSW PCYC Cheif Executive Officer.

“Our programs build a positive relationship with youth. It’s that routine and the one on one aspect of it that turns people around and changes lives.

“There is no magic recipe to it – just good old fashioned hard work and engagement. Police, community, mentors – and respecting these young people because they have a lot of potential.”

Mr Teakle says PCYC is not just about the 2 per cent of kids who are at risk. “We are for the whole community, just everyday kids who want to come down and play basketball, play badminton, get involved with gymnastics.”

Supported by Far South Coast PCYC Manager, Peter Cross and local leader Chloe Peck, PCYC has big ambitions locally to establish a bricks and mortar clubhouse. The Bega Indoor Sports Stadium is one possibility that has been identified.

Archery is one of the activities run by PCYC locally. Photo: Far South Coast PCYC Facebook.

Archery is one of the activities run by PCYC locally. Photo: Far South Coast PCYC Facebook.

Bega Valley Mayor, Kristy McBain says, “It would be fabulous to see a PCYC headquarters locally, where we can bring a whole heap of people together and run a range of activities.”

“A youth centre has been something that has been missing for some years.”

Mr Teakle raised the possibility of accessing PCYC funds to upgrade and expand current Council facilities.

“This place needs somewhere as a destination,” he says.

“That place [Bega Indoor Sports Stadium] was shut this morning, it should be open.”

The PCYC chief went on to speak with passion about opening the centre when youth need it, when some are at risk or in need of positive alternatives, “before school, after school, late on a Thursday night.”

He also stressed the importance of making the space available to local high schools, other youth services, and the full spectrum of community organisations locally, “it should be open in the middle of the day for gentle exercise classes with the local Masonic Club.”

Cr McBain says Council is happy to talk further and work with PCYC in achieving their ambition.

To tap into the programs that already exist in the Eurobodalla and Bega Valley, check the PCYC website.

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The Batemans Bay Bowlo would have been perfect. Such a shame.

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