WA Police Cadet and former Perth Glory midfielder Jacob Collard recently paid a visit to Banksia Hill Detention Centre to present certificates of participation to young people involved in a Football West program.
Initiated by Football West Development Officer Garry Church in 2016, the program helps young people at the detention centre to reconnect with the community through football.
Church visits the Detention Centre on a regular basis to assist participants in developing sporting and social skills.
Collard and seven of his WA Police colleagues recently joined Church at the program and took part in a friendly round-robin tournament.
The tournament was similar to a competition involving Football West staff, Youth Custodial Officers and two teams of people from Banksia Hill held earlier this year.
Collard believed engaging young people with the WA Police through football-related activities would have strong benefits.
“The round-robin event was a tremendous way to build relations and trust between the young people and the WAPOL agency which is ultimately my biggest goal,” said Collard, who played for Gosnells City in the All Flags State League this season.
“To me, this event was a very special opportunity to communicate with the young men on a personal level. Hearing their stories and upbringings made me realise that we had very similar childhoods.”
Church said Collard’s visit would mean a great deal to those participating in the program.
“Having Jacob and his colleagues come to visit the boys and take part in a small football tournament with them encouraged them to develop respectful relationships with WA Police,” he said.
“It also helps them to see that, with some determination and motivation, they can achieve their goals and they can succeed, just as Jacob has.
“It’s amazing to see how far some of our participants have come with the positive influence of football.”