27/05/2010 - 00:00

YMCA launches boutique gym

27/05/2010 - 00:00

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MORE than a century after opening its first gymnasium on Hay Street, the YMCA has launched a state-of-the-art facility in the Perth central business district.

MORE than a century after opening its first gymnasium on Hay Street, the YMCA has launched a state-of-the-art facility in the Perth central business district.

The not for profit last week launched the boutique gym on the corner of Victoria Avenue and Terrace Road, in Stockland’s award-winning Durack Centre 2, which sets a new benchmark for sustainable design for the CBD.

The building is Perth’s first six-star green star-rated development.

The gym, which features $250,000 worth of equipment and can accommodate up to 900 members, was developed to help the YMCA boost its coffers.

YMCA of Perth chief executive Ron Mell said the organisation recorded substantial growth in recent years, investing its resources to provide further infrastructure to support the growth, but was affected by the economic downturn.

He told WA Business News that, while the YMCA of Perth’s 2007-08 combined operating surplus of $750,000 has dropped significantly in the past financial year, surplus funds generated from the new venture would be ploughed back into the YMCA’s benevolent services.

These include emergency accommodation, counselling, mentoring of young people and youth services, all of which are focused on helping young people at risk as well as developing people and building capacity in the community.

Mr Mell said as a not-for-profit community organisation, any income generated from fee-paying ventures is directed back into the community through initiatives including the Big Brothers, Big Sisters mentoring program, and The Bridge Project, which seeks to provide employment opportunities for disenfranchised youth.

The original YMCA gym closed down on Hay Street many years ago, but Mr Mell said the organisation had taken the decision to come back by opening a gym “that really is pretty impressive”.

“The YMCA is founded on the belief that everyone has the right to achieve their best possible wellbeing, and our new health club is completely aligned with this principle; it will be perfect for anyone who wants to increase their fitness or is focused on leading a healthy lifestyle,” Mr Mell said.

“The gym is a truly superb facility, housed right in the heart of the city, and we expect it will quickly develop a reputation for excellence by helping new members to plan and achieve their fitness goals.

“The YMCA team is delighted with the end result and we’ve already received enormous interest from people who live and work in the CBD and who want to join.”

The YMCA was founded in London in 1840 by George Williams and 11 friends.

In just over a decade the association branched out across the world, with the first Australian branch opening in Adelaide in 1851.

Some 57 years later, WA had a YMCA firmly established.

The YMCA Perth Group is comprised of two organisations – YMCA of Perth Inc and YMCA of Perth Youth & Community Services Inc.

Mr Mell said the YMCA had a refined focus on childcare and children’s services, and a growing partnership program with the state’s private and public sectors.

Under current taxation laws, YMCA of Perth is defined as a charity and carries out a range of activities directed at building communities, while the second organisation is described as a benevolent institution and provides programs for disadvantaged people.

Combined, the YMCA now offers accommodation, children’s services, recreation facility management and community-based programs, whereas in the 1960s and 1970s in particular, programs were very much recreation-centric.

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