Cessnock’s new PCYC has been hailed the “Taj Mahal” of youth clubs following the official opening on Sunday.
The $7 million redevelopment was launched by Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove who said the site will offer unlimited possibilities for the youth of Cessnock.
“This facility offers a place for young people to gather and learn new skills,” he said.
“Why would not a new boxing champion emerge from the facilities here.
“Going forward Cessnock PCYC will continue to be a place to embrace the community and a safe place for young people to gather and be supported.
“A place they can feel good about themselves.”
The new 5800 square-metre site, at the former Bonds factory, is three times larger than the previous clubhouse on Wollombi Road, and is the second-largest PCYC facility in NSW.
The club will now be able to host state and national level sporting competitions, catering for gymnastics, sports aerobics, rock climbing, soccer, futsal, netball and badminton as well as an indoor skate park.
State, federal and local government leaders along with members of various community groups attended Sunday’s opening celebrations.
PCYC NSW CEO Darren Black said the organisation had taken steps to ensure the redevelopment was of the greatest benefit to the Cessnock community.
“This facility was designed with a huge vision and it will be able to service the needs of not only Cessnock, but of the Hunter for the next 60 or so years,” he said.
“Where possible all works and purchasing were undertaken within the local community.
“All contractors were engaged from the local community or region, accredited volunteers have been involved and, through a local training company, young people have been given training and accreditation.
“Young people involved with our police youth case managers also worked on the project and received accredited training and work experience.”
Cessnock PCYC president Peter Rosemond said that the club has been serving the community since the 1950s but that the needs of the community had outgrown the original site.
“When the Bonds factory became available, it gave us a chance to re-establish on a similarly sized site but with a much bigger building,” he said.
“This has been significantly expanded to include new sports halls and facilities.
“We acknowledge the contribution of the community in providing the original club and value the 61-year history of club access to generations.”
The Bonds factory was closed in 2009 after providing employment for Cessnock residents for nearly 80 years.
In an acknowledgement of the history, the factory’s original 1929 White Rose boiler has been preserved to form part of a historic display at the back of the new multi-purpose sports hall.