Singleton PCYC celebrates 55th anniversary

CLUB manager David Andrews labelled the Singleton PCYC a "community asset" as the organisation acknowledged a unique feat at the weekend.

The High Street facility celebrated its 55th anniversary on September 13, but an informal birthday party was hosted by the local team on Friday afternoon - which included a socially-distanced basketball game, a sausage sizzle, drinks and, of course, a big cake.

Life Governors Kath Pearce, Col MacDonald and David Vaughan attended the function, too.

"A lot of gyms and fitness centres have come and gone in town," said Mr Andrews, who's been in the top role for more than four years.

"But, in spite of everything, we're still here - and still providing much-needed services to residents.

"So, it's a huge milestone for us.

"And, this is our chance to say thanks to the many people who've supported the Singleton PCYC over the past five-and-a-half decades.

"A number of them have been involved 20-plus years.

"They're all our 'friends', so it was good to connect with everyone again."

According to Mr Andrews, the PCYC (known back then in 1965 as the Federation of Police & Citizens Boys Clubs) formally took possession of the buildings, previously recognised as the Singleton and District National Fitness Youth Centre, on Saturday, May 8, 1965.

This was the culmination of an idea that had been germinated in 1952, with PCYC Life Governor Ock Hatherly being a staunch advocate of the handover.

Unfortunately, the concept generated some opposition at the time as it took 13 years to eventuate.

And, as reported in The Singleton Argus, Cr Marshall was still voicing his concerns on the day of the handover.

However, Police Superintendent Mabbutt (Acting Federation president) noted during his acceptance speech "the Federation was the parent body of the organisation, but the club belonged to the town" - a sentiment, which remains to this day.

After a management committee was formed, it conducted its first meeting on Tuesday, July 20, 1965.

A further assembly on August 23 determined that the official opening would be on September 13, 1965.

"So, here we are 55 years later... still serving the young people of Singleton," Mr Andrews said.

"We now boast 900 members, 650 of which are junior [members].

"We also run any number of activities - some of these are free as they are what we call 'mission' programs targeted specifically at meeting the PCYC's charter.

"Others are fee-paying to enable us to continue to provide these opportunities in the community.

"A gym and weights area; junior, youth and adult boxing; women's-only boxing for fitness classes; basketball; Active Kidz; half-court tennis; gymnastics; Taekwondo; Mixed Martial Arts, Safer Driver Courses... there really is something for everyone.

"Plus, we host our DRIVE initiative (a program to assist learners obtain their Driver's Licence), thanks to Singleton Mazda; our Friday Afternoon Fun Disability program; the NSW Police Commissioner's Fit4Life activity as part of the RISEUP strategy; and we are currently running a free 10-week Holistic Health and Wellbeing program for drought-affected families."

Mr Andrews spoke highly of his team members, Vera Katris, Jenna Barwick and volunteer Eilish Coffey, too.

"They are terrific staff; I'm very lucky," he said.

"Vera is virtually part of the furniture [here] while Jenna was a volunteer before gaining full-time employment.

"Then, in 2019, she deservedly picked up the PCYC Young Person of the Year (Female) award.

"It was great recognition for the Singleton club."