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YMCA NSW assembles experts to inform Australia’s first purposefully-designed child-safe building in Broken Hill

The workshop, held yesterday (Tuesday 27 June) in Sydney, focused on how infrastructure design can support child protection, informing the design and functionality of the planned $4.59 million redevelopment of the YMCA Broken Hill, which has been majority funded by the NSW Government through the Restart NSW Resources for Regions program. The redevelopment will see the facility serve its community as an integrated community health and wellness centre.

Taking part in the workshop were representatives from child safety and advocacy organisations the Australian Childhood Foundation, Designing Out Crime (research partnership between the NSW Department of Justice and UTS), the Office of the Children’s Guardian NSW, the Behavioural Insights Unit (part of the Department of Premier and Cabinet), representatives from UWS as well as YMCA NSW and Central West Project Management.   

YMCA NSW CEO Leisa Hart explained: “YMCA NSW is in receipt of $3.9 million in funding from the NSW Government to redevelop our Broken Hill facility. To further our deep commitment to the safeguarding and protection of children, YMCA NSW is seeking to engage with leaders in the child protection and safeguarding spaces to provide insight into how we may design this building with child safety as a key priority.

“At present, there are currently no set of standards for creating a child-safe building from a child protection perspective, so we have the opportunity in bringing these leading groups together to develop principles and use them to inform the design of the new YMCA Broken Hill integrated wellness centre – indeed, to embed child safety into its very fabric – in what we hope will become a best practice model for other organisations to follow.

“YMCA NSW has done a significant amount of work in recent years to become a child safe organisation, as recognised by Royal Commission Chief Commissioner Justice Peter McClellan AO in December 2016, and more recently by the Australian Childhood Foundation in May 2017 through their Safeguarding Children Program accreditation.

“At YMCA NSW, the safety and protection of children is our highest priority and as such is at the core of everything we do. Included in this, we feel a sense of responsibility to inform and share our knowledge and experience with other organisations across Australia to assist them to do the same.”

The existing YMCA fitness centre in Chloride Street, Broken Hill will be transformed into a wellness centre that will offer holistic services including mental health support, culturally appropriate fitness programs, mine-worker wellbeing programs and inclusive programs for people with disabilities. The new facility will improve the health and wellbeing of the community and provide a significant boost to the local economy, creating at least 15 new jobs. Work is expected to begin in October 2017.

YMCA Broken Hill currently provides services to over 2,500 local residents, runs swimming lessons for over 500 children and employs almost 60 staff and volunteers. YMCA NSW has been involved with the Broken Hill community for 100 years, and more than half of the not-for-profit’s 100 locations are in rural and regional areas. For more information on YMCA NSW locations and programs, visit www.ymcansw.org.au.

-ENDS-

Media contact:

Louise O’Donnell

Media and Content Specialist YMCA NSW

E: louise.odonnell@ymcansw.org.au

About the YMCA

YMCA NSW is a community not-for-profit organisation committed to healthy living, empowerment and positive social impact. We believe in the power of inspired young people to effect positive change in the world. We support this by offering a range of programs and services at more than 100 locations across NSW and the ACT. YMCA NSW is recognised as a Safeguarding Children accredited organisation by the Australian Childhood Foundation. To find out more, visit www.ymcansw.org.au

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