New chief a voice for youth

New PCYC CEO John Gillespie.
New PCYC CEO John Gillespie.

The former police officer of 31 years was recently appointed chief executive of the Federation of WA Police and Community Youth Centres (PCYC).

The married father of two adult daughters most recently worked in the public sector in the Pacific Caribbean Micronesia regions, where he liaised with prisons, police, local government, government agencies.

Mr Gillespie was the Community Justice co-ordinator in Lautoka for two years, where he helped to introduce alcohol and drug counsellors, and crime prevention committees within local government.

‘The biggest reward was working with the youth organisations,’ he said.

‘The problems are not dissimilar (between Perth and Lautoka).

‘It’s about looking for role models, mentors, opportunities to improve themselves, and for further education and to prepare them for employment.

‘Our youth have so many opportunities and facilities, and we need to capitalise on that.’

Mr Gillespie’s next challenge is to assess the infrastructure and programs of PCYCs throughout the state to ensure they meet the needs of youth at risk and fulfil recommendations of the 2012 Browne Report in to the organisation.

Mr Gillespie was unable to disclose the favoured new site for the Claremont PCYC but said it was close by, and facilities such as the skate park and rifle range would be retained.