The YMCA of Niagara hosted a grant recognition event on Monday afternoon, Jan. 16, appreciative of the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s contribution of $498,000 for facility upgrades at the Port Colborne, Niagara West, and Welland locations. The ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at the Niagara Centre YMCA, located at 310 Woodlawn Road in Welland.
Allie Hughes, Board Chair for YMCA of Niagara, and Christian Wulff, Interim CEO, were on hand to welcome Catherine Kuckyt, the regional representative for OTF. Mike Haines represented Jeff Burch, MPP for Niagara Centre, at the event.
The grant will primarily support improved flooring throughout the buildings, including walkways and entrances, to enhance the user experience. Retrofitted doors with automatic functions will ensure that all members, especially those with mobility challenges and visual impairments, can safely access all programs and fitness areas.
“I’m very pleased to hear that YMCA of Niagara has received this sizeable grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation,” said Burch through a press release. “This money allows the Y to extend the life of its community hubs in Welland, Port Colborne, and Niagara West by making the flooring safer and more versatile. Also, inclusivity will be improved via automatic door openers.”
Ben McDermott, general manager of health, fitness, and aquatics for the Niagara YMCA organization, said that the Welland site currently has about 2500 members, and offers a wide variety of activities and services for all ages. Older adults in particular are actively involved in pickleball, aquafit, cardio, and strength training, he said. A current membership recruitment promotion waives the joining fee, and a variety of new membership models have been introduced based on community feedback. See www.ymcaofniagara.org for details.
“We are grateful to the Government of Ontario and the Ontario Trillium Foundation for recognizing the impact that Covid-19 has had on the non-profit sector,” said CEO Wulff. “With their help, we were able to afford to upgrade our YMCA branches to ensure that our facility is up-to-date and accessible for all members.”