Fight­ing back

Af­ter years of ne­glect, Mt Druitt PCYC is be­ing given a sec­ond chance with manager Lance Chaloner forg­ing ahead with a new vi­sion for the cen­tre.

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - FRONT PAGE - Alison Bald­ing

MT DRUITT PCYC manager Lance Chaloner has been fight­ing to breathe new life into the cen­tre and give it back to the com­mu­nity.

In the six months he has been at the helm he said he had wel­comed more than 1500 new mem­bers, rein­tro­duced ju­nior rugby league teams, re­paired the gym, in­tro­duced al­most 20 new ser­vices and pi­o­neered weekly free-food stalls.

In com­ing weeks, he will in­tro­duce monthly com­mu­nity mar­kets and a fort­nightly free com­mu­nity din­ner at the site.

He is also work­ing to lock in fund­ing to have a com­mu­nity nurse, fam­ily coun­sel­lor and a dru­gre­ha­bil­i­ta­tion pro­gram per­ma­nently housed on-site.

“This is about tak­ing it be­yond a sport and recre­ation com­plex to give the com­mu­nity what they need,” Mr Chaloner said. “I want it to be the cen­tral hub for ser­vices in Mt Druitt, where the com­mu­nity can come and so­cialise in an af­ford­able en­vi­ron­ment and of­fer an al­ter­nate life­style to the one they have now – give the com­mu­nity own­er­ship and en­cour­age pride in the town.”

Mr Chaloner said the PCYC brand was known for its abil­ity to reach young peo­ple but he had dis­cov­ered that by en­gag­ing the whole fam­ily he had been able to break down more bar­ri­ers.

One per­son who has no­ticed the turn­around is Mt Druitt Busi­ness Cham­ber pres­i­dent Reg Mur­ray, who has spent his whole life in the area.

“Lance has re­built the place, ba­si­cally. Be­fore he came along it was in a shock­ing state,” Mr Mur­ray said.

“It is an ab­so­lute credit to him, he is such a pas­sion­ate and friendly man and a very proud man.”

Mr Mur­ray said the PCYC com­plex was al­most lost to the com­mu­nity.

“The place had gone into a state of dis­re­pair and was just locked up. He’s got in there and turned it around,” Mr Mur­ray said.

Among the ser­vices on of­fer is a work-for-the-dole pro­gram run by Sa­rina Russo Job Ac­cess, where wel­fare re­cip­i­ents have been work­ing to re­vive the com­plex’s gar­den and re­fur­bish the paved ar­eas.

Pro­gram manager Danielle Can­drick said the com­plex was lead­ing the way with com­mu­nity-fo­cused pro­grams.

Pic­ture: PHILLIP ROGERS

Punch­ing above their weight ... Lance Chaloner with Ned Narouz (left) and Jar­rod Wall.

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