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Pat’s Weekly Column – May 3 2021
This week I visited the old ambulance station site in Belgrave St, Kempsey together with our Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, Kempsey Mayor Liz Campbell and a number of local community support organisations.
The site is soon going to be transformed into the new Kempsey Family Community Centre, which will provide Macleay Valley youth, young mothers and children suffering from domestic violence, homelessness and other challenges a safe place to go.
This initiative is part of the Government’s commitment to supporting our community’s most vulnerable, and once complete the centre will include crisis and transitional care accommodation for those who need support, short term crisis care accommodation for young people, young mothers, and women and children experiencing domestic and family violence, and holistic mental health and domestic violence support.
The centre will provide significant social, wellbeing and economic benefits to the Kempsey community, and lead to a reduction in anti-social behaviours, youth crime, youth suicides and poor outcomes for families.
It is also estimated that up to 65 construction jobs will be created to build the new centre, and once operational there will be up to 15 full-time employees and many other part-time roles that will provide holistic health and care support.
Our Kempsey aboriginal community have demonstrated that they are strongest when they are supported to solve their own problems within their communities, and a Community and Youth Centre where elders can meet and address communal challenges and mentor their youth will be part of the centre.
The new centre will be managed by the Diocese of Lismore with day-to-day operations looked after by the Kempsey Parish and St Agnes Care and Lifestyle.
The Australian Government has committed $6.5 million to deliver this vital facility, with the NSW Government providing $500,000, and the land at 85 Belgrave Street. Kempsey Council and many other local community and social support groups have also made generous in-kind donations.
Construction of the new Kempsey Family Community Centre is expected to start before the end of this year, and I look forward to keeping you up to date on the progress of this significant project.