IT’S been a good couple of weeks for Justin Abrahams. At the mid-point of 2022, his facilities in New Norfolk and Bridgewater are attracting a record of more than more than 4500 kids a week.
Staff numbers are similarly healthy, the manager of the Police and Community Youth Club told the Derwent Valley Council. Council has agreed to provide $84,500 this financial year towards the $110,000 running costs of the PCYC. “Council is getting value for its money,” Constable Abrahams said.
The New Norfolk facility on Derwent Terrace above Boyer Oval, provides a broad range of social, recreational, sports and cultural services. Among its most popular offerings are basketball and netball, indoor bowls and Brazilian jujitsu. Outside, the PCYC provides the Valley community youth engagement activities, from canoeing to hiking, support for individuals, even food relief and transport assistance. “And beyond that, we work on other activities involving Derwent Valley Council, schools and police, Salvation Army and other agencies with a presence in the Valley,” Constable Abrahams said.
All the indicators are pointing upwards, he said. “The second quarter of this year has seen a real surge in engagement, in activity across the board.” This comes after the Covid pandemic struck hard at the PCYC’s participation rates. Identified by Abrahams’s graphs, the low point represented by a steep V-shaped decline and recovery during March 2020. Since then, however, engagement by the school-age children has bounced back strongly.
Primary school children form the largest contingent of those coming to the PCYC each week, representing more than half the regulars. About a third of the remainder attending the PCYC each week comes from high schools in the Derwent Valley and Bridgewater areas. The Bridgewater facility is on Greenpoint Road. As of June 2022, Justin Abrahams – a constable in Tasmania Police – has up to 11 staff in the Derwent Valley and five vehicles to draw on. Bridgewater PCYC across southern Tasmania has a total of 60 staff.
Constable Abrahams is more than the manager of the facilities in New Norfolk and Bridgewater, he’s also dad to Arielle and Emma, two active PCYC participants. Emma has just been named a finalist in the School Based Trainee of the Year Award. She’s completed a Certificate III in Community Services Avidity Training and Development. Older sister, Arielle, was a finalist back in 2020.
“And more, our Bridgewater PCYC is a current finalist in the small employer of the year category of the same Tasmanian Training Awards,” Constable Abrahams said. “A reason to celebrate all round.”