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Launch of Canberra PCYC and St Andrews 'Hands across the ages', Hughes ACT


I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, the Ngunnawal People, and pay my respects to their elders, past and present, emerging leaders and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders gathered here today.

Good afternoon, everyone.

Linda and I are delighted to be with you for the launch of ‘Hands across the ages’ – a joint initiative of Canberra PCYC and St Andrews.

‘Hands across ages’, as the name implies, is an initiative that brings people of different generations together and helps build strong, inclusive communities.

As Patrons – Linda of St Andrews and me of PCYC – this launch event allows us to continue our association with both organisations. We are privileged in our roles to have a front row seat to the important work being done by Canberra PCYC and St Andrews. 

The two organisations have different missions, but with ‘Hands across the ages’ they have come together and developed an innovative program for the betterment of many in the community, especially those who are vulnerable.

‘Hands across the ages’ comprises two elements:

  • Pre-apprenticeship training for 30 Canberra PCYC participants in Hospitality and Aged Care 
  • A setting that promotes increased participation and social interaction for residents of St Andrews Village.

It’s a win-win for participants and residents of Canberra PCYC and St Andrews, and also the community.

‘Hands across the ages’ will provide young vulnerable people with an opportunity to learn new skills in Aged Care and Hospitality. PCYC participants will be matched with residents of St Andrews to help build meaningful and positive relationships based on mutual respect and understanding. Participants will also be working in the Cruisin Café, which now includes St Andrews Village among its stops. I’m sure the Canberra PCYC Cruisin Café will prove very popular here at the village. We’re looking forward to welcoming the Cruisin Café to Government House. A coffee van is a great way to bring people together.

Who knows what might come of interactions between residents and participants through this program. One thing that Linda and I know all too well is the positive difference a small act of kindness or generosity, or a sympathetic ear, can make to someone’s life. The great thing about ‘Hands across the ages’ is that the benefits flow both ways.

For Canberra PCYC participants – by participating in and completing a pre-apprenticeship training program you increase your chances of gaining employment. For the residents of St Andrews – your wisdom, your insights, your learnings about life will, I’m sure, be an inspiration to Canberra PCYC participants. I’m informed you have been a huge hit already with students at Hughes pre- and primary schools, helping them with gardening as well as their reading and writing. As I said, the benefits flow both ways.

A few thank yous before we mingle and have some afternoon tea. To Deborah and all at St Andrews Village – thank you for hosting today’s event and for partnering with Canberra PCYC on this important initiative. To Cheryl and her team at Canberra PCYC, and to its many supporters – thank you for all that you do to help improve the life path of many individuals and families in the ACT.

It is a great pleasure for Linda and me to officially launch ‘Hands across the ages’.

Congratulations to all involved.