$5m boost for youth makes Grafton PCYC a reality
FUNDING has finally been secured to open a Police Citizens Youth Club in Grafton.
While an outreach program has run for several months, the organisation has tried to secure backing to revamp Grafton Sports Centre and bring it up to specification for a PCYC.
Now, the wheels are in motion.
PCYC chief executive officer Dominic Teakle said investment of about $5m from NSW State Government funding, will change lives in the Clarence Valley.
"Hopefully the community will embrace us and the journey that we are on because this is critical,” Mr Teakle said.
"When you've got an operation run by (Superintendent Steve Clark), and in collaboration with youth and crime prevention, the police perception in the community can be altered altogether,” he said.
"The relationship and mentorship that you get from police is amazing and life changing.”
Mr Teakle said there will be changes to the building, but nothing that disrupts existing activities.
"We will extend further forward to put in a new activity space on the other side of the sports court (at the front of the building),” he said.
"We're going to extend and demolish the admin services at the front and reconfigure because we want to put in a youth space, police offices, conference offices, and the mezzanine floor will be multi-purpose space.
"We try to maximise our space as much as possible. We want to be conscious of what the basketball association (Grafton Vikings) does, particularly with Jacaranda Festival competitions.
"We will put in other activities here so we can keep it driving along.”
Mr Teakle said this was a long term investment for the Clarence Valley.
"We're here forever, and it's an investment for life,” he said.
It's been a long process to bring PCYC to the Valley, with former mayor Richie Williamson first approaching the organisation in 2006.
Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis said this was a momentous day for youth in the Clarence Valley.
"This is fantastic, we've been waiting for this for a long time,” Mr Gulaptis said.
"Everyone has come together today because this is a momentous occasion for Grafton.
"The state government funds the PCYC, but they have the discretion on how they spend it, and we've been waititng for this for decades.
It's a fabulous Christmas present for the community of Grafton and our kids.”