The youth of Raymond Terrace recently celebrated the official opening of their new youth venue, the DECK, funded by a $50,000 donation from Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation.
The Raymond Terrace Neighbourhood Centre was able to relocate and rename 'the Youthie' to the DECK after the previous venue was sold. The venue provides a safe and nurturing environment, one that Crystal Garlick and Tosh Ballangarry are very familiar with.
Crystal Garlick first attended the Youthie when she was 12, seeking advice on how to curb high school bullies. Now, at age 18 Crystal, and her twin brother Connor, both volunteer at the DECK to help other young people in the area.
“The Centre is a great place to hang-out, have fun and meet new people. The staff and volunteers helped me greatly through my teenage years; I go twice a week to give back and help other young kids,” Crystal said.
“I'm excited that the Centre was able to remain open and move to a bigger place, without it, there really is no where else for the youth in Raymond Terrace and Port Stephens to go.”
Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation Chairman Michael Slater said the DECK provided an invaluable hub for youth in Raymond Terrace and Port Stephens.
“The testimonies from the young people involved clearly show The DECK offers a safe, friendly and engaging environment where youth can gather and get involved in a range of positive, healthy and active programs,” Micahel said.
“There is no other youth service like this one in Port Stephens and Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation recognises the enormous value this program contributes to the local community.”
“The DECK staff and all the volunteers do a fantastic job and we are proud to now be associated with such a great organisation.”
The DECK Coordinator Matt Breen said the Charitable Foundation funding opened the door for partnerships with other community groups and organisations.
“Without the $50,000 funding we would have had to close down, there was no other option for us. We are extremely grateful that the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation granted this funding so we could continue to help the youth of Port Stephens,” Matt said.
“With the bigger space we now have the opportunity to possibly partner with other community organisations for youth related programs. We are also after tools and volunteers to increase our range of programs.”
The DECK is open Thursdays and Fridays and offers life skills, counseling, mentoring and group activities including a weekly cook-up in the new pizza oven and drumming classes.
A drop-in Centre also operates on Thursday and Friday afternoons which allows youth to get together at the Centre, play X-Box or PlayStation, access computers, complete arts and craft, play table tennis or pool and offers a range of sports activities.
Local charity and not-for-profit organisations are invited to apply for the next Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation funding round, which closes on Friday, 11 April 2014.
To make an application for a grant or to obtain further information visit the Newcastle Permanent website, phone 13 19 87, or visit a Newcastle Permanent branch.