Log In

Reset Password

YMCA thinking big

Ambitious plans for the Gisborne YMCA include creating a community wellness hub, an increased focus on youth and redeveloping the Childers Road stadium.

Gisborne district councillors received a presentation from YMCA acting chief executive Janene Dixon–Smith and district councillor and YMCA president Brian Wilson for the organisation that has seen more than 80,000 people use its facilities in the past year.

They told the council they wanted the organisation’s redevelopment to be included as a priority in the council’s local recreational plan.

The plan would see the YMCA building redeveloped to provide a stand-alone community wellness hub.

That would include specialised rehabilitation services of exercise physiologists to support those who had had a health crisis — cancer, strokes, cardiac events or any illness — before they were well enough to participate in community exercise programmes.

“There seems to be a big gap between what we can provide in the hospital and what we can provide in community wellness programmes. What we really need is a facility to accommodate that kind of care,” said Ms Dixon-Smith.

They also envisaged this wellness hub would be available to all community organisations.

“There are lots of people doing amazing things but we don’t have a purpose-built facility to provide the expertise and care people need if they have just come out of hospital and are not quite ready to go back into the community.

There were plans to redevelop the upstairs section of the stadium into two or three exercise studios that could be used for group exercise and targeted programmes for community wellness such as stroke support and youth mental health and group fitness.

The YMCA wanted to investigate the possibility of redeveloping the stadium as a family recreational space with an “adventure-tainment” focus.

They would introduce activities like Ninja Warrior and Clip ’n’ Climb Jump to attract schools, corporate use and visitors.

“We don’t have anything like that in our region and our idea is to investigate something that would be feasible.

“We want to build partnerships with Sport Gisborne-Tairawhiti, schools and sports clubs, and everyone in the community to impact the current users, who are mostly netball and basketball in our stadium.”

Section of YMCA ‘past use-by date’The YMCA intended to provide a capacity youth development programme to ensure youth reached their full potential and found ways to ensure they were fully engaged and focused, and included in society.

The YMCA was committed to the next generation of Gisborne youth and had plans to send up to 10 young people to gain international experience.

Mr Wilson said he hoped the presentation would show the council that the YMCA was invaluable to the Gisborne wider community.

“We have got some amazing plans for introducing completely new activities for our community.

In answer to a question, he said the middle section of the YMCA building was past its use-by date and needed to be redeveloped.

Asked if the redevelopment would see basketball taken from the stadium, he said the problem was that many schools had basketball stadiums.

Many years ago there had been an idea to rationalise where activities were undertaken. That had never happened and unfortunately the facility in Childers Road was not fit-for-purpose.

“That is something we have to work through and find out what is the best use for that stadium,” he said.

YMCA acting chief executive Janene Dixon–Smith (right) works out with Tash Law in this file picture. Picture by Rebecca Grunwell