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YMCA at The Valleys Lifestyle Centre awarded for excellence in community recreation 

YMCA at The Valleys Lifestyle Centre awarded for excellence in community recreation 
June 6, 2019

YMCA South Australia at The Valleys Lifestyle Centre has been recognised as a leader in community recreation excellence this week, winning the South Australia Parks and Leisure Association (PLA) award for Best Region/Rural Contribution.

The leading not for profit, which manages the centre for the Clare and Gilbert Valleys Council, has created a positive social, environmental and economic impact from a range of community based programs and initiatives. The PLA award acknowledged the significant contribution made by the YMCA to the local and regional community over the past 18 months. 

The Valleys Lifestyle Centre YMCA manager, Ben Whalan, accepted the award and said it was a fitting reward for the dedication and effort of the locally based staff team since the YMCA assumed management of the centre in 2017.

Whelan then explained “under YMCA management the centre has undergone significant positive change with the initiation of new practices, programs and services. Staff engagement was immediate and impact has been great with community participation steadily growing over the last 18 months.

The improvements in operation also assisted the achievement of positive financial result in 2017/2018, with the outcome being over $100,000 favourable to budget.

The highlights noted in The Valleys Lifestyle Centre’s award nomination included:

• Community centric simple-to-understand membership types
• YMCA Swimming Lesson structure and curriculum
• 44 week per year Swimming Lessons model 
• Revised and proven YMCA staff structure 
• Industry standard upgrade through YMCA policies & procedures 
• Watch Around Water policy implementation
• External community programming
• Environmental impact through the ‘Responsible Cafes’ initiative

Whalan said that, despite an increase in competition, the centre’s community impact continued to grow and the focus was on maintaining excellence in all aspects of its community footprint.

He added "competition in the health and wellness area has created some new challenges in community engagement but our customer centric approach has been very successful.

“New engagement activities continue to be planned to increase membership, facility usage and community engagement for better health and fitness outcomes across all community segments.”

YMCA South Australia at The Valleys Lifestyle Centre automatically progresses to be nominated for the national PLA award which will be presented at the Crown Promenade in Perth on 29th October.

Images (top, from left) The Valleys Lifestyle Centre’s YMCA staff team: Sonia Goss, Manager Ben Whalan and Hannah Salter accept the PLA state award for best region/Rural contribution and (below) aqua class at YMCA South Australia at The Valleys Lifestyle Centre.

Related Articles

1st June 2019 - YMCA Camp Manyung partnership delivers safer, more inclusive beach and camping experience

15th May 2019 - YMCA Anglesea skate program helps reconnect indigenous youth with country and culture

13th September 2018 - YMCA South Australia to manage new St Clair Recreation Centre

2nd May 2019 - YMCA Victoria successfully delivers outdoor adventure camps for active seniors

15th May 2019 - YMCA-managed Port Lincoln Leisure Centre secures water safety award

21st June 2018 - YMCA South Australia Active Adults program recognised at industry awards

4th June 2018 - Federal Government backs YMCA South Australia inclusivity and access project

15th June 2017 - YMCA South Australia takes on management of Valleys Lifestyle Centre

29th November 2011 - Double award for Clare & Gilbert Valley’s Lifestyle Centre


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