Businessman mystified by tender shock

A WELL-known Shoalhaven businessman, who has supported various local organisations in the area, including Shoalhaven Youth Accommodation, has questioned the state government’s motive behind the Going Home Staying Home reform.

Geoff O’Connell of Kinghorn Motors has supported SYA for nine years and knows firsthand the important role it plays within the community.

“We’ve got a long-existing family connection with this program, I know the great work they do,” he said.

“I was pretty shocked when I heard they had lost the tender. And Kerri [SYA manager Kerri Snowden] and her team are rightfully gutted about it.

“Who is going to pick up this essential service?

“If those beds have now been lost, what happens to those kids?”

Through his business, Mr O’Connell has helped with the SYA yearly Christmas party, donated proceeds from the company’s annual race day to be used for food vouchers and helped out with maintenance on properties.

He is also involved in its youth programs, talking to teenagers about life and how they can improve themselves.

“We have given the service a lot of support over the years. To me the money is not important, it’s about helping the kids and you can’t put a figure on that sort of thing,” he said.

“This is an essential service and if they are no longer doing it, who is?”

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