28 November 2022

Wagga community welcomes $23m PCYC club - the state's largest

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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Young PCYC Wagga member Elvein Ibrahim was part of the club’s Fit For Life Program when she first moved to Wagga and says the PCYC has had a huge impact on her life. Photo: Shri Gayathirie Rajen.

The long-awaited and much-anticipated $23 million Wagga Wagga PCYC has officially opened to the public.

The PCYC’s new multi-purpose facility at Bolton Park, which includes a stadium, after-school care, conference area and an office centre, had its grand opening on Friday, 25 November.

“In the year 2000, there was a thought, in 2010 there was a vision, in 2014 there was a plan, in 2019 there was the funding, and in 2021 there was a build,” PCYC Wagga president David Bardos told the guests at the opening.

“Today, we are very proud to welcome you to the new PCYC Wagga facility.”

The official opening was attended by a host of dignitaries including Member for Riverina Michael McCormack, Independent Member for Wagga Wagga Dr Joe McGirr, NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb, PCYC CEO Dominic Teakle, Wagga City Mayor Dallas Tout, Wagga MLC Wes Fang and PCYC chair Nicole Sorbara.

The largest PCYC facility in the state also has a gym, multipurpose sports hall, a public cafe, and studio spaces for boxing, dancing, martial arts and yoga.

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Young PCYC Wagga member Elvein Ibrahim was part of the club’s Fit For Life program when she first moved to Wagga and says the club has had a huge impact on her life.

“PCYC helped me and my family become part of the Wagga community … and I’m so grateful for it,” Elvein said.

“I gained a lot from the club – kindness, respect and teamwork.

“PCYC has been life-changing for us … and I would like to thank all the staff members for all the time and effort they put in for us.”

Elvein came to Australia in 2016 as a Yazidi refugee, and she and her family found life challenging due to language barriers.

“When I started primary school, the only English words I knew were ‘Yes’, ‘No’ and ‘Bye’, which didn’t get me anywhere,” Elvein said.

“I’m someone who loves sport and after I moved to Wagga, one of my friends suggested PCYC.

“I was like, ‘Yes! This club is for me’.”

In 2019, Elvein joined the Fit For Life program and attended more than 100 sessions.

She said she enjoyed every session but after a week it was hard to keep going due to the 6 am starts.

“Sometimes I would sleep in during cold weather,” Elvein said.

“But PCYC is a great club and the staff members made it easier to wake up, when I think about it.

“It was a great opportunity for me to participate and get to know all the amazing staff members.”

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Elvein says she’s proud to be part of PCYC Wagga.

The new facility was built with funding from all three tiers of government. The Federal Government contributed $10m as part of the Community Development Grants program, the State Government also gave $10m, and Wagga Wagga City Council made $3m available.

The old PCYC facility, in Gurwood Street, had inadequate space and facilities and PCYC struggled to provide the full suite of services required to meet the level of demand and population density in Wagga and the wider region.

PCYC, a registered charity in its 85th year, operates 66 clubs across the state, with more than 95,000 members and 63,000 youth members, allowing police to engage with community members through sporting, recreational, cultural and educational activities.

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