Eight PCYC clubs have reactivated following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, to provide activities for young people at risk in a safe and healthy environment.
Operation Restart saw the Broken Hill, Bourke, Dubbo, Orange, City of Sydney, South Sydney, Blacktown and Campbelltown PCYC clubs open with limited services last week (Monday 11 May 2020).
The NSW Minister for Police and Emergency Services, David Elliott welcomed their return, praising the role PCYC clubs play in supporting vulnerable and at-risk youth.
“Many in our community have been doing it tough under the COVID-19 restrictions so I’m overjoyed that this important support is once again available,” he said.
PCYC operates 64 clubs across the state, with more than 110,000 members and 70,000 youth members, allowing police to engage with community members through sporting, recreational, cultural and educational activities.
All PCYC activities were suspended on 23 March 2020 following the shutdown of all non-essential services.
“While it was necessary for PCYC clubs to close during this unprecedented pandemic threat, it’s timely for their good work to resume in a safe and carefully managed way.
“This government is committed to supporting the community through the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr Elliott said.
Capability, Performance & Youth Commander, Assistant Commissioner Paul Pisanos said police officers have been reaching out to young people while the restrictions have been in place, providing welfare packages containing food items and hygiene products.
“The welfare packages helped us to stay connected with these kids. It was one way we were able to let them know that police are always here to help, no matter what,” he explained.
Assistant Commissioner Pisanos said officers working in PCYCs across NSW provide positive role modelling and leadership to young people.
“Particularly during times of crisis, young people need guidance, support and skills to make the best life choices. Now, we’ve been able to recommence our important work with young people at eight PCYCs.”
PCYC NSW chief executive officer Dominic Teakle said hygiene and social distancing processes have been implemented to allow young people back to eight PCYC clubs initially. Another eight clubs are planned to be reactivated later this month.
“The safety and wellbeing of members and staff is our primary concern, but I am confident that our clubs are well prepared and able to adhere to current hygiene, social distancing and mass gathering requirements,” he said.
While limited services have recommenced, all PCYC facilities remain closed to the public. Entry is restricted to staff and program participants.
The eight PCYC clubs set to be reactivated on 25 May 2020 are Albury, Wagga Wagga, Wollongong, Penrith, Auburn, Lake Macquarie, Kempsey and Taree.