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A night of recognition

Published: November 09, 2018 12:00am

Celebrating the efforts of WA Police, staff, partners and volunteers of PCYC

On Wednesday 3 November, WA Police and Youth Community Centre (PCYC) staff, WA Police Force officers, PCYC council members, volunteers, business and agency partners and friends, gathered to celebrate excellence in the Historic Ballroom of the Pagoda Resort and Spa. CEO David van Ooran paid special recognition to those who went above and beyond so that PCYC can continue to deliver activities and diversionary programs to make a positive impact on the lives of young people across the state. The awards were presented by outgoing President, Dr Sue Gordon AM. Earlier at the Annual General Meeting, Mr van Ooran spoke of the impact PCYC has on communities. “In our 77-year history, whether it’s by continuing to deliver high-quality recreational activities engaging young people and empowering them or by continuing to believe in young people while working with police and government to intervene when needed, PCYC is fundamental to the prominent issues Western Australians face. “Volunteers, staff and police are all working toward a common goal: empowering children and young people and transforming lives.” In partnership with the WA Police Force and community, the PCYC mission is to change lives. Mr van Ooran said, “We reduce and prevent crime by and against young people, develop their skills through learning and development and inclusive and sustainable programs and activities and ultimately contribute to safer, healthier and happier communities.” By providing fun, culturally relevant health and fitness-based activities in a safe space, along with overall positive experiences, young people are better equipped to deal with the many concerns they face, from alcohol and substance abuse, to employment, mental health issues and suicide. PCYC provides a powerful bridge, a hub of connected activities, programs and entry points, empowering the young people and children of WA to engage in their community.

The winners

There were three winners for Centre of the Year: Fremantle PCYC (metropolitan) and Geraldton and Roebourne PCYC tying for the regional award. Not surprisingly, these centres also attracted the attention of nominations and awards in other categories. Fremantle PCYC performs to an exceptional level as the community hub, with visitors now more than 8,000 per month, up from 4500-5000 last year. With close to 400 gymnasts, 23 basketball teams, Air Rifles, Badminton and over 25 other recreational activities including SafeSPACE, Fremantle PCYC is one of the most active centres. Fremantle PCYC has again increased funding through various grants and strong partnerships, some of which include: the City of Fremantle, Fremantle Foundation, Food Rescue, and Hilton Harvest, who enable Fremantle PCYC to really impact the local community in a positive way. In light of this support, the Fremantle Foundation won the Metropolitan Partnership award. Dylan and Hannah from the foundation, which encourages philanthropic giving, actively began a campaign to bring in additional funding for several youth intervention programs and facilitated partnerships with numerous stakeholders, including Freo Dockers Players Fund and various family trusts. $35,750 in funding was secured for programs. The City of Fremantle and Lottery West were also awarded as finalists for their valuable contribution throughout the year. Fremantle PCYC also won the Metropolitan Program of the Year award for its SafeSPACE Program, providing learning and experiences through as serious of workshops designed to engage approximately 35 participants, many of whom are Aboriginal. Workshop themes include Aboriginal culture, personal growth, community skills, and health and wellness. These children, aged 10 to 14 years, come from backgrounds of family violence, poverty, incarceration and other issues. At SafeSPACE they can do homework, learn things they mightn’t otherwise and eat healthy food, all of which are needs for youth at risk in this community. The program also improves the safety and well-being of the wider community by taking at-risk youth off the street, away from the temptations caused by boredom. Its success is evident with the securing of major funding, including $225k from the Department of Social Services, $107k WAPOL Plate funding, $10,000 from the Commonwealth Bank and $11,000 from the Fremantle Foundation. Roebourne PCYC has much support from the community which contributes to their success. WAFC Pilbara Regional Football won the award for their huge support for Roebourne PCYC programs, providing training and support to Roebourne PCYC employees in the football realm and facilitating the Nightfields program on Friday nights. Finalists for the regional Partnership of the Year Award were Centacare Exmouth, Amity Health for their support of Albany PCYC and MEEDAC Aboriginal Corporation, supporting Geraldton PCYC. The Employee Recognition Award acknowledges those who live the PCYC values. Talya Quinn, Centre Manager at Geraldton PCYC, added to their Centre of the Year Award by winning personal recognition for her efforts in reducing youth crime along the foreshore and therefore, police call-outs, contributing to a safer local area. Talya worked with local businesses, agencies and police to run SafeSPACE evenings on nights when youths were bored and disengaged. Notable finalists for this prestigious award were: Annie Dann – Broome YCYC; Emma Parr – Fremantle PCYC; Justin Crudeli – Geraldton PCYC; Fiona Hearn – Fremantle PCYC; Nicole Walker – Geraldton PCYC; Amanda Dow –Kensington PCYC; Sharon Moores – PCYC Head Office; Bill Spicer - Broome PCYC and Lauren Roberts – Subiaco PCYC. Geraldton PCYC also won the Youth Program of the Year Award (regional). The town had significant issues with youth misbehaving in the CBD Thursday nights. This program was an initiative between PCYC and WA Police Youth Community Intervention Officers to build a safe place for youth-at-risk to learn, play and enjoy life with the aim to prevent juvenile offending and criminal behaviour. Since initial consultations, further partnerships have developed including with Geraldton Rotary, City of Greater Geraldton, MEEDAC, GRAMS and Geraldton Aboriginal Sporting Corporation and Ngala. These organisations assisted with staffing, food, transport, activity assistants and more! With 382 PCYC volunteers across the state, the Volunteer of the Year Awards, Junior and Senior, recognises a few outstanding people who donate time, skills and know-how in order to positively impact their local community. All nominees were recognised given the difficulty of separating the valuable work they do. They were: Declan McRae - Exmouth PCYC; Ciara Kelly – Geraldton PCYC; Joel Pearson - Geraldton PCYC; Leah Watkins – Exmouth PCYC; Matt Gates – Exmouth PCYC; Jakeb Stevenson – Fremantle PCYC; Wendy Everrett – Fremantle PCYC; Arthur Ryan ‘Sharky’ – Geraldton PCYC and Angela, Connie and Emily Shepherdson – Harvey PCYC. Fundraiser of the year was won by Albany PCYC with fundraising centring around the Albany PCYC Community Ball and assisting with the Albany Agricultural Show. The Ball is a local community favourite and has found its niche in the market, well patronised each year. Albany PCYC is also involved in catering for a major Charity Darts Tournament held at the centre annually in August and assists the Albany Agricultural Society with Gate Control in November, running a drinks van for the two days of the show to raise valuable funding for the centre.

WA Police Force Winners

It was difficult to separate winners from finalists in the WA Police Contribution awards. Therefore, all those nominated were presented with a certificate, testimony to the valuable contribution they have made. The Police Contribution awards were introduced by Deputy Commission, Gary Dreibergs, who spoke of Commissioner Chris Dawson’s aim to increase police presence in communities by working with PCYC, to reduce crime and engage children and young people in activities and programs that help build safer, happier and healthier communities. Senior Constable Charlie Comeagain was recognised for supporting Geraldton PCYC. Mr van Ooran said, “Charlie always goes above and beyond the call of duty for his community … he has been a part of the demolition derby project, midnight basketball, Friday night football and school holiday programs and assisted the new SafeSPACE program.” Constable Giovanni Valastro was noted as somewhat of a celebrity at his centre with youth at Kensington PCYC. Mr Van Ooran said, “Giovanni (John) has become an integral part of the success in the centre. We are starting to see increased numbers participating in accredited training and recreational and diversionary programs. Numerous youth come through the door wanting to see John and engage in programs.” Sergeant Steve Taylor was recognised for going above and beyond on what his role entails, being a constant face at Roebourne PYC assisting at the Nightfields football program by umpiring. Mr van Ooran said, “Steve is described as the poster man for community policing, has an amazing rapport with the entire Roebourne community and is highly respected throughout. Young people look up and seek mentorship from him because he cares.” Sergeant Brenton Uphill was recognised by Carnarvon PCYC for his remarkable interpersonal skills which enable him to establish and strengthen relationships between PCYC, WA Police and local organisations. When comparing the Christmas school holidays and those from the previous year, statistics indicate a 50% reduction in crime. Congratulations to all those recognised across the many categories. All police, volunteers and staff who work with PCYC are integral to providing the foundation for youth and children across the state so that they can reach their full potential. You can support PCYC by donating, becoming a volunteer or supporting the three-times a year raffle. Funds go toward maintaining and running centres, their programs and activities and employing the best people to develop programs and activities and support Western Australian youth.