Renovated Whitney Pier youth club opens doors
People donated cash and labour, while funding came from three levels of government
Kids who spend time at the youth club in Whitney Pier can now enjoy a newly renovated facility, complete with an expanded kitchen, recording studio and computer lab.
The new club opened its doors Monday.
Work on the $800,000 expansion started in May 2015 but was delayed at times due to shortages of money and labour.
The project involved a complete renovation of the existing building on West Street and the addition of a new section of equal size.
'So much more we can do'
Benjamin Cormier, a Grade 8 student at nearby Whitney Pier Memorial Junior High, said he's looking forward to the weightlifting room. The facility also has a pool table, table hockey and a boardroom.
"It's a significant improvement over the last club, so many fun things to do," he said.
Tasha Fenech, 13, said she was impressed by the lunch program and the chance to take cooking and dance classes.
"There are so many kids, I can socialize with whoever I want," she said. "It's just so much bigger and more spaced out and there's so much more we can do."
Donations of cash and labour as well as funding from the federal, provincial and municipal governments helped pay for the work.
Chester Borden, the centre's executive director, said it was in essence a community project and the list of contributors was too large to rhyme off.
"I can tell you right now it's a huge list," he said. "We reached out to the community and some contractors were bringing in their own services. We never had a tonne of money for labour so we were relying on in-kind contributions."
He said the new centre will feature a donation wall to thank everyone who made it all possible.
There will also be further fundraising to cover operating costs. Borden said planning is underway for a New Year's Eve event for adults that will feature a cash bar, games and prizes.
Club has waiting list
And while the building may be new, the philosophy remains the same.
"We still work with the kids. It's a safe haven for them to come," Borden said.
Youth outreach worker Lydia Kerr, 23, never worked in the previous centre but describes the new space as "gorgeous."
"It's all about the kids right, we just want them to be happy and safe and have different programmes and keep them physical and having fun," she said.
The club now has 111 members and 50 people on the waiting list.
With files from George Mortimer