Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - FRONT PAGE - Jenny Gal­braith

PLANS forged by Mt Druitt PCYC are set to rad­i­cally trans­form the lo­cal com­mu­nity by cre­at­ing a hub of ser­vices that tar­get the whole fam­ily unit.

Mem­ber­ship at the club has more than dou­bled to around 1600 this year af­ter a con­certed ef­fort to at­tract par­ents into tak­ing on lead- er­ship and other roles within sport­ing and other ac­tiv­i­ties the cen­tre of­fers.

Man­ager Lance Chaloner, who came to the club in Novem­ber last year, be­lieves real change can­not hap­pen with­out the in­volve­ment of the whole fam­ily.

“Sport is the medicine that so­cially con­nects fam­i­lies and gives them energy. If we can get them as a group to come to­gether, they will start to see what Dad and Mum have to of­fer and see how they can be­come their role mod­els again,” he said.

Mr Chaloner has also gar­nered the sup­port of other com­mu­nity or­gan­i­sa­tions such as the Ro­tary and Lions clubs, Evocca Col­lege and Sa­rina Russo to pro­vide a range of out­reach ser­vices at the Lux­ford Rd cen­tre once par­ents are en­gaged.

These will in­clude men­tal health ser­vices, drug and al­co­hol coun­selling, health check-ups, and ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing coun­selling.

“Un­less we get to the el­ders it won’t hap­pen. It’s go­ing to be in­stant de­liv­ery of ad­vice they need on the spot or a very clear in­for­ma­tive mes­sage of where to go, and we will mon­i­tor and back it up,” Mr Chaloner said. “It’s not a prob­lem that’s go­ing to be fixed im­me­di­ately, but at least we’re put to­gether some kind of so­lu­tion to ef­fec­tively help them in some way, rather than just ig­nor­ing it.”

The club has formed a football club with 13 teams this year, and has cre­ated box­ing, wrestling and work­out pro­grams with the help

of a range of train­ers and phys­io­ther­a­pists.

PCYC board di­rec­tor Er­rol White­ley said the work of the club would di­vert chil­dren from be­ing at risk of be­com­ing in­volved in crime.

“There’s a mas­sive need in this area – kids are look­ing for some­thing that’s safe and fun and that’s why they are com­ing by the dozens,” he said. “Next year we’re look­ing at big­ger num­bers be­cause they’re telling all their friends.”

Evocca Col­lege’s vo­ca­tional place­ment of­fi­cer, Dell Froio, said their stu­dents would be in­volved in de­liv­er­ing some ser­vices.

“The com­mu­nity needs it, and PCYC is a ban­ner that peo­ple can come un­der and no­body knows what they’re com­ing here for,” she said.

Danielle Can­drick from ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing provider Sa­rina Russo said the or­gan­i­sa­tion would help pro­vide path­ways to em­ploy­ment for the com­mu­nity.

“We will iden­tify any bar­ri­ers to em­ploy­ment and work to ad­dress those bar­ri­ers and move them to ed­u­ca­tion if they need, but ul­ti­mately we will find peo­ple sus­tain­able em­ploy­ment,” she said.

Mr Chaloner en­vis­ages the club be­com­ing the hub of the com­mu­nity where ev­ery­one can come to find the help they needed.

“I’m proud of the fact we’ve changed the whole thing around and we’re do­ing what we’re do­ing in seven months,” he said.

“We’ve come from be­ing at rock bot­tom to ba­si­cally cit­ing prospects of what we can build this town into, and this will be the cen­tre of it.”

Lance Chaloner, pic­tured with some of Mt Druitt PCYC’s youngest mem­bers, has more than dou­bled num­bers at the club and wants to turn it into a com­mu­nity hub.

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