Lake Macquarie PCYC in Windale set to reopen on May 25

SENSE OF NORMALCY: Lake Macquarie PCYC in Windale is set to reopen its doors on May 25, two months after they were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
SENSE OF NORMALCY: Lake Macquarie PCYC in Windale is set to reopen its doors on May 25, two months after they were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lake Macquarie PCYC is set to reopen its doors this week, two months after they were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of NSW Police's operation to reactivate clubs across the state.

Eight PCYC clubs were reactivated last week following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions on May 15, providing activities for young people at risk in a safe and healthy environment.

NSW Police's Operation Restart saw the Broken Hill, Bourke, Dubbo, Orange, City of Sydney, South Sydney, Blacktown and Campbelltown PCYC clubs open with limited services on May 11.

The Lake Macquarie club, located in Windale, alongside the PCYC clubs in Albury, Wagga Wagga, Wollongong, Penrith, Auburn, Kempsey and Taree are set to reopen on May 25 with limited services.

NSW Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott welcomed the reopening of PCYCs, praising the role 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 March 23 following the shutdown of all non-essential services amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"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," Mr Elliott said.

"This government is committed to supporting the community through the COVID-19 pandemic."

Assistant Commissioner Paul Pisanos, the NSW Police Capability, Performance and Youth Commander, 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 said.

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.

"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.