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Roebourne PCYC programs get funding boost

Alicia PereraPilbara News
Pilbara MLA Kevin Michel, Roebourne PCYC centre manager Samantha Cornthwaite, Police Minister Michelle Roberts and WA PCYC chief executive David van Ooran with the Lotterywest cheque.
Camera IconPilbara MLA Kevin Michel, Roebourne PCYC centre manager Samantha Cornthwaite, Police Minister Michelle Roberts and WA PCYC chief executive David van Ooran with the Lotterywest cheque. Credit: Alicia Perera

Roebourne PCYC will expand its successful Safe Space youth engagement program and employ two sports co-ordinators after being awarded almost $250,000 funding from the State Government.

Police Minister Michelle Roberts was in Roebourne last Wednesday to present a $241,560 Lotterywest grant to the centre at a ceremony attended by PCYC staff and police and community representatives.

Roebourne PCYC centre manager Samantha Cornthwaite said the funding would allow staff to expand the centre’s Safe Space program, which runs on Wednesdays and Fridays, to include a Saturday night session and employ two part-time sports co-ordinators to run sporting activities throughout the week.

“It’s about providing the children with a mentor who is a local person, so they’re able to know that there are opportunities within their community for them to grow, and also provide them with activities in that gap period of time, when there is nothing else to do,” she said.

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“It’s ensuring that consistency, so that there’s positive activities for the young people to engage in all the time.”

The Safe Space Weekend program, which will run every second Saturday to alternate with a youth program at Yaandina, is expected to draw about 65 children each session and more than 1000 during the year. Ms Cornthwaite said the sports co-ordinator roles would also go to local people, building community capacity.

Ms Roberts said the new programs would provide more avenues for young people to seek out support, reinforce positive life skills and grow in self-confidence.

“It gives them a safe place to go to where they can ... do activities and be effectively out of harm’s way,” she said.

“The last thing anyone wants is kids getting into trouble, looking towards vandalism or antisocial behaviour.

“Here they can be involved in really positive activities and it gives them somewhere to go where they know they will be safe.”

Roebourne police officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Tom Daly said the program would help keep children off the streets on Saturday nights, which could be a particularly active time for juvenile crime.

“We do see gaps on the weekends... in terms of crime and particularly youth offending,” he said.

“By having an option for them to come to a safe place, where they’ll have an opportunity to engage positively and get a meal, they’ll be more inclined and positive to go home and do the right thing rather than not.”

The Lotterywest grant will fund the Safe Space Weekends program and sports co-ordinator roles over two years.

Afterwards, their impact will be independently reviewed by the WA Centre for Rural Health.

The programs form part of the State Government’s West Pilbara Trauma and Healing Plan, a whole-of-government strategy to address social disadvantage and prevent child sexual abuse in the region.

Ms Roberts also met with senior members of WA Police and officers in Roebourne and Karratha during her visit.

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