PCYC on the way for our youth
THERE is now a plan in place to bring a PCYC to Grafton.
Clarence Valley Council mayor Jim Simmons, general manager Ashley Lindsay and PCYC NSW chief executive officer Dominic Teakle have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to bring the youth organisation to the Valley.
Now, it's just a matter of finding funding to make it all happen.
The PCYC is set to take over the Grafton Sports Centre, which is run by the Grafton Vikings Basketball Association, and will include major upgrades to the building to improve security and office space for the NSW Police, who will be working out of the centre.
Mr Teakle said they have been working side-by-side with the council to make this happen.
"You've got to applaud council for their initiative in this, they've been certainly chasing this for a while," he said.
"They've been very proactive in coming to us and asking us what we need to do it and, I must say, council have been exceptional in identifying options for us to look at and being flexible and helping us facilitate meetings with community groups.
"That's really important because you can't start something like this if the community don't feel like they own it."
With the MOU in place, the next step is to put plans in place to get the facility running.
"Now it's a matter of saying we know what we have to do to get the facility right and... we need to put the bits in place that make it a PCYC which allow us to run programs that are not just about running basketball," he said.
"It will have a whole range of different activities so it becomes a real community asset - not just for young people but for others to come and join.
"We've got to get funding, so we will go back through respective grants that are available now."
Mr Teakle said they will now go to the government and the police commissioner to ask if they agree with putting the facility here because the community need it.
"There is do doubt that it will tick all of those boxes," he said. "The local area command (Coffs/Clarence) is extremely supportive and they were part of the initial push."
Mr Lindsay said the council had pushed hard and worked with the community to help bring the PCYC to the Clarence Valley because it was such a reputable organisation.
"The PCYC provides the opportunity for youth within the Clarence Valley to get an understanding that police are not bad people," he said.
The council has been facilitating discussions with the Vikings to help reassure their community a PCYC would not mean they can no longer use the stadium.
"That facility was leased to the Grafton Vikings Basketball Association and they've been wonderful and I think council is indebted to them," Mr Lindsay said.
"If we can get the PCYC up and running in the basketball stadium, a lot of credit needs to be given to the basketball association and the Ghosts junior rugby league, they can see the benefits of the facility being upgraded and the PCYC brand being associated with them."