Dubbo's new youth centre attracts community support

YOUTH CENTRE: Shane Alderdice, Mark Searle, Toni Alderdice, Michelle Redden, Toni Grant and Nelson Kelly inspect the youth centre's fence. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE
YOUTH CENTRE: Shane Alderdice, Mark Searle, Toni Alderdice, Michelle Redden, Toni Grant and Nelson Kelly inspect the youth centre's fence. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Businessman Nelson Kelly didn’t hesitate in donating $12,000 for fencing and security at a new youth centre in Dubbo where children and teenagers are being fed and helped to stay out of trouble.

Midwest Foods’ Toni Alderdice “jumped at the opportunity” to fill a new freezer at the centre with more than $1000 worth of food. The 324-litre freezer was paid for by employees of the Commonwealth Bank Dubbo Business Centre, some of them volunteers at the youth centre run by not-for-profit Dubbo Neighbourhood Centre and officially called the Wingewarra Activities Centre.

The bank staff also nominated Dubbo Neighbourhood Centre for a $10,000 centenary grant, presented by their visiting boss Matt Comyn at the youth centre on Wednesday afternoon. It will be used to pay “overheads” such as rent and electricity at the youth centre in Wingewarra Street.

Dubbo Neighbourhood Centre chief executive officer Michelle Redden used Wednesday’s presentation to thank the community, Dubbo Regional Council and the Department of Family and Community Services for their support of the youth centre. “We really are relying on community support and it has been really overwhelming,” she said.

The youth centre cares for up to 40 children and youth three nights a week. They are bused home when it closes with food if “someone at home” is hungry.

Ms Redden said the centre was for 12-year-old children through to 17-year-old youth,“but we certainly get a lot younger”. “We don’t want them on the streets at risk,” she said. The youth centre was an instrument of “early intervention” and aspired to prevent substance abuse, anti-social behaviour and entry into the juvenile justice system, Ms Redden said.

Co-owner of the Castlereagh Hotel, Mr Kelly was among youth centre supporters at the presentation where he explained the motivation for a generous donation. “We thought it was a good local cause and were happy to help out especially with kids who haven’t been as lucky as myself and others,” he said. Mrs Alderdice said the youth centre was a “great initiative” of Dubbo Neighbourhood Centre that was “doing a fabulous job with the children”.

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