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YMCA of Christchurch to reopen after February earthquake

YMCA of Christchurch to reopen after February earthquake
July 29, 2011

The YMCA of Christchurch is to reopen on Monday (1st August).

After over five months of closure following Christchurch's 22nd February earthquake, the facilities on the corner of the city's Hereford Street and Rolleston Avenue, will again operate with 24 hour opening, as it has for the past 149 years.

Chief Executive Josie Ogden-Schroeder is relieved and excited that after months of exhausting repairs and uncertainty for staff, Monday will mark a new beginning for the facility.

Ogden-Schroeder explained "it has been a hard time for the YMCA staff with many not being able to work for much of the past five months, or having been seconded to other YMCA facilities in somewhat cramped and more difficult circumstances.

"It is fantastic that we have been able to have them return to work, and it also great that again the YMCA on Hereford Street will be full of a wide range of people from our community and overseas."

Scheduled to reopen on 27th June the reopening was put back by the 13th June earthquake.

Now, Ogden-Schroeder adds "we can now only be optimistic about the future ... and try not to worry about the consequences of further big shakes!

"This whole experience has certainly taught us all how to be both flexible and resilient during times of stress and change."

The Hereford Street facility encompasses a fitness centre, squash courts, a climbing wall, a range of youth education and youth leadership programmes and a 250 bed accommodation and conference complex. It also houses tenants including the Robert Harris Cafe, Muscle People Physiotherapy, and Drs on Cashel.

The Y's accommodation facility will also be a welcome addition to the sparse accommodation options currently on offer in the central city.

To celebrate the reopening, during the first week of August the gym, group fitness, squash and climbing wall will be open free to the public.

As Ogden-Schroeder adds "I know there are lots of people out there who are keen to get back to the treadmill and regular spin classes! We have missed the NZ Police and other regular corporate and family members who make the YMCA hum with activity."

Reflecting on the YMCA of Christchurch's role in supporting the community, Ogden-Schroeder adds that "the positive side of this earthquake has been that it has been a catalyst to re-focus our organisation to do whatever we can to partner with other groups and create worthwhile projects within the community."

YMCAs from around the world have donated nearly $200,000 to the YMCA Christchurch in order to enable community work to go ahead unhindered by financial barriers.

As Ogden-Schroeder concludes "times like these it feels great to be part of an international organisation. We have been using the funds we've been donated to do things for children, young people and families in Christchurch, particularly those who have been really disadvantaged due to damage to their schools or homes."

The Y is now planning celebrations to marking its 150th anniversary in 2012.


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