Po­lice youth hub

Deniliquin Pastoral Times - - FRONT PAGE - By ZOE MCMAUGH

A youth hub which would meet recre­ational and ed­u­ca­tional needs for lo­cal young peo­ple out­side of the school sys­tem could be built in De­niliquin.

A pro­posal to de­velop such a fa­cil­ity has been put for­ward by De­niliquin Mur­ray River Po­lice Dis­trict of­fi­cers, with the for­mer De­niliquin Po­lice bar­racks build­ing rec­om­mended as the lo­ca­tion.

The bar­racks is a her­itage listed build­ing and pre­vi­ously housed De­niliquin de­tec­tives be­fore the new De­niliquin Po­lice Sta­tion was built.

Lo­cated next to the new sta­tion — at the cor­ner of Hardinge and Char­lotte Sts— the youth hub would still be part of the po­lice sta­tion com­plex but sep­a­rated from op­er­a­tional ar­eas by fences.

The fa­cil­ity is ex­pected to in­clude meet­ing spa­ces, a half-court bas­ket­ball court, bar­be­cue fa­cil­i­ties and po­ten­tially a gar­den.

De­niliquin-based De­tec­tive In­spec­tor Jy Brown said its de­vel­op­ment would de­pend on fi­nan­cial sup­port and co-op­er­a­tion from lo­cal or­gan­i­sa­tions.

He said ‘‘in prin­ci­ple’’ sup­port has been of­fered al­ready by Ed­ward River Coun­cil, Yarkuwa In­dige­nous Knowl­edge Cen­tre, Fam­ily and Com­mu­nity Ser­vices, NSW Health, NSW Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion and the NSW Depart­ment of Premier and Cab­i­net.

The next stages of the de­vel­op­ment will be dis­cussed at an in­au­gu­ral meet­ing on the pro­posal on Thurs­day next week (July 19).

‘‘Our in­ten­tion is to put for­ward a busi­ness case for a multi-pur­pose youth hub, through the NSW Po­lice Force, to the NSW Gov­ern­ment,’’ Det Insp Brown said.

‘‘The idea is to have both po­lice and other agen­cies run pro­grams from the hub, with the old bar­racks pur­posely re­mod­elled to ac­com­mo­date need.

‘‘We want to give our youth some­where to go that is not at the sta­tion, which can be a bit con­fronting.

‘‘We still need to look at what in­di­vid­ual agency needs are, but it could po­ten­tially be used to run fo­rums on build­ing em­ploy­ment skills, ca­reers in­for­ma­tion or a num­ber of other things.

‘‘Our hope is to also in­clude a half bas­ket­ball court and pro­vide bar­be­cue fa­cil­i­ties for peo­ple to use. The chil­dren might even like to build a gar­den there and do a bit of other land­scap­ing. ‘‘Of course it will all de­pend on fund­ing.’’ Det Insp Brown said the pro­posal was born out of dis­cus­sions with lo­cal agen­cies, which he said high­lighted the lack of pro­grams and out­lets in which to en­gage and in­ter­act with lo­cal youth.

‘‘It all came about when it be­came clear a pre­vi­ous re­quest to start a PCYC (Po­liceCi­ti­zens Youth Club) in De­niliquin was not able to ful­filled,’’ he said.

‘‘We also look at it as a way to im­prove the re­la­tion­ship po­lice have with the youth of De­niliquin, with the ul­ti­mate goal of re­duc­ing youth crime and re­of­fend­ing.’’

Plans and cost­ings for the youth hub are yet to be de­vel­oped. Det Insp Brown said the first step is to cre­ate a busi­ness case, which he said would be de­vel­oped with in­put from each of the po­ten­tial part­ner or­gan­i­sa­tions.

He said this process would be­gin at the meet­ing on July 19. It is then hoped a de­ci­sion on whether the de­vel­op­ment can pro­ceed will be known by the end of this year.

Det Insp Brown said any­one who has any ideas about pro­grams or fa­cil­i­ties for the pro­posed youth hub is wel­come to contact him at the De­niliquin Po­lice Sta­tion on 5881 9299.

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