Paying it forward
A group of local ladies who attend the Benalla Aquatic Centre each week are proving to provide a major benefit to the health and wellbeing of many across our rural city.
During regular visits to the Mair St centre they join in programs including aqua, tai chi and healthy hearts, however, the determined members have also donated their time and money to help support the community through YMCA Open Doors.
The open doors program is a community-based initiative that aims to address health inequalities by ensuring no-one is denied access to YMCA programs and services.
Fundraising began in 2015 with a ‘‘swear jar’’ before the ladies moved towards other avenues to raise money for their cause.
On the last Friday of every month a gold coin donation is provided upon entry for lunch and any spare change is also collected on Thursday mornings during coffee between aqua and light yoga sessions.
The funds have helped a number of local children learn life-saving skills by providing alternative payment options for swim lessons to those who could not afford it.
This has significantly contributed to the Swim to Survive program for local schools.
At the end of 2017, the group had raised more than $3500 and Benalla YMCA manager Elise Wood said thanks to these funds the YMCA was now in a position to positively influence all segments of the community.
‘‘We can’t underestimate how much the money raised has benefited local people who simply would not be able to afford to attend the centre,’’ she said.
‘‘In a world that is increasingly about taking rather than giving, we really want to thank and acknowledge the time and effort contributed to our centre by this delightful group of ladies.
‘‘YMCA Victoria’s mission is to build strong people, families and communities and YMCA Open Doors supports this by providing access to programs and services that have a positive impact on health and wellbeing.’’
For more details on YMCA programs and services at the Benalla Aquatic Centre, visit www.benalla.ymca.org.au or phone on 5762 2154.
Proud: This group of local ladies (pictured with their trainer Tim) have raised more than $3500 for programs at the Benalla Aquatic Centre.