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L-R: Clarence Correctional Centre General Manager Tony Voss, Commissioner of Corrective Services NSW Kevin Corcoran PSM, Member for Clarence Christopher Gulaptis MP, Keeping Our Freedom Youth Pastor Pete Boughey, Clarence Correctional Centre Aboriginal Cultural and Spiritual Advisor Andrew Bartha and Northernpathways Director Operations John Myers. Image: Contributed

Serco donates more than 1,000 toys to support Aboriginal at-risk youth

Serco has partnered with a Keeping Our Freedom Youth to help reduce recidivism for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth through Toys Change Lives program.

This month Clarence Correctional Centre inmates reached a significant milestone with more than 1,000 toys donated to support at-risk youth in the community. Toys produced through this program raise funds for initiatives to stop Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people from returning to custody.

Clarence Correctional Centre General Manager Tony Voss said the toys made by inmates fund vital education and employment opportunities in the community.

“Serco is proud to have introduced this program because it is delivering positive outcomes for both the community and the inmates involved,” Mr Voss said.

“Since the program began, more than 40 inmates have been employed to make the toys in the industry workshops, which are then hand-painted by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander inmates.”

Commissioner of Corrective Services NSW Kevin Corcoran PSM said that programs such as Toys Change Lives support the community and create essential employment pathways for inmates.

“We’re determined to provide skills and qualifications to inmates in all NSW correctional centres and this program enables inmates to not only improve their chances of employment post-release by honing their carpentry skills, but it allows them to contribute to the local Aboriginal community in a meaningful way,” Mr Corcoran said.

The Toys Change Lives program was founded by Pete Boughey in 2014 when he identified the need for a program where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth could gain training and skills in carpentry and traditional art to help prevent their return to custody.

Pastor Boughey said the partnership with Serco has allowed the program to reach further into the community.

“We can now offer more training and employment opportunities to at-risk youth thanks to this partnership, and we look forward to working with Serco well into the future,’ Pastor Boughey said.

Serco has also partnered with Big River Industries, which donates the timber needed to make the toys. Working with local partners to deliver meaningful programs provides opportunities for the community and businesses to support Serco’s rehabilitation and reintegration strategy.

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