FOOTBALL West is helping young people at Banksia Hill Detention Centre in Canning Vale reconnect with the community through soccer.
Development officer Garry Church, who makes regular visits to WA’s only detention centre for people aged 10 to 17, was the architect of a six-a-side competition involving Football West staff, security guards and two teams of players from Banksia Hill.
The visiting Football West team consisted of staff members including chief executive James Curtis.
“It was great to be part of the competition and to spend some time with the young people at Banksia Hill,” Mr Curtis said.
“Football is such a popular sport that’s played by people from all backgrounds and it was excellent to see everyone enjoying the games.”
Mr Church has seen firsthand the benefits of regularly engaging young people in soccer-related activities and games.
“The program encourages the boys to focus on the future and work towards a positive life in the community,” Mr Church said.
“They’re always excited to get out on to the pitch and start playing and it was fantastic to see them engaging with one another during the competition.”
A player’s eligibility to participate in the weekly sessions is dependent on their behaviour, providing an incentive for them to conduct themselves in a positive manner.
Football West’s input into Banksia Hill aims to bring the young people together and provide a positive social experience at the same time as educating them about the game.
Mr Church hoped soccer, in conjunction with Banksia Hill’s other programs, assisted young people when they move into the wider community, and encouraged them to consider pursuing the sport further.
“The Banksia Hill staff are fantastic, not only by participating in the competition, but encouraging the boys to participate, too,” he said.
“They are developing respectful relationships with the boys, which is crucial for their ongoing rehabilitation.
“It’s been great watching the positive influence football has had on the boys.”