No party for Lara as YMCA sud­denly shuts

Southport Visiter - - Visiter Active - BY KATE LALLY kate.lally@trin­i­tymir­ @kate­lal­lyx

A10-YEAR-OLD girl has been left heart­bro­ken af­ter her birth­day party was can­celled TWICE by YMCA Sefton.

Joanne Grif­fiths ini­tially booked a roller disco party for her daugh­ter Lara on De­cem­ber 16, but was later told her book­ing could not be ac­com­mo­dated.

Joanne, who lives in Tar­leton, said: “They told us there was a prob­lem with the heat­ing and that I could re-book in the New Year when it was fixed.

“We didn’t think to book any­where else, we just took them at their word - and now this.”

Hoghton Street’s YMCA Sefton cen­tre closed un­ex­pect­edly last Wed­nes­day.

In a no­tice taped to the door of the cen­tre, trustees of the charity or­gan­i­sa­tion are ad­vised that the de­ci­sion to close has not been taken lightly.

The state­ment on the door ex­plains how growth in the lo­cal fit­ness and leisure in­dus­try has left the YMCA un­able to com­pete.

It read: “It is with great sad­ness that we are an­nounc­ing the clo­sure of our Com­mu­nity Health and Well­be­ing Cen­tre with im­me­di­ate ef­fect.

Joanne re­ceived the news on Lara’s 10th birth­day.

She said: “Lara is now dev­as­tated for a sec­ond time. I wouldn’t mind if they’d just said back in De­cem­ber that it wasn’t go­ing to hap­pen, full stop. Why did they have to lie?

“My lit­tle girl has spent her birth­day evening in tears, all she wanted was a roller disco party.

“Or­gan­is­ing a party was dif­fi­cult enough to be­gin with as my son, Lara’s brother, is dis­abled. And now the near­est place we can go for a roller disco is in Wi­gan, but it’s con­sid­er­ably more money and it’s miles away.”

Joanne said she paid a cater­ing com­pany a £60 de­posit for the ini­tial De­cem­ber book­ing.

She hopes to be re­im­bursed for this, as well as for Lara’s party, from YMCA Sefton.

In a state­ment, trustees of the charity or­gan­i­sa­tion ad­vised that the de­ci­sion to close had not been taken lightly.

It said: “It is with great sad­ness that we are an­nounc­ing the clo­sure of our com­mu­nity h healthlth andd well­be­ingllb i cen­tret with im­me­di­ate ef­fect.

“Un­for­tu­nately, as providers in the lo­cal fit­ness and leisure in­dus­try have grown around us, with cut­ting-edge facilities and cheaper prices, a con­sid­er­able amount of our busi­ness has been lost and we can no longer af­ford to com­pete.

“We haven’t taken this de­ci­sion lightly and have worked tire­lessly over the past cou­ple of years to im­prove our of­fers but we now re­alise it is no longer vi­able to run our health and well­be­ing cen­tre.”

The clos­ing of the cen­tre comes just three months af­ter it was an­nounced that YMCA South­port would be merg­ing with YMCA Liver­pool to cre­ate a Sefton-wide branch.

The closed down YMCA in Hoghton Street; in­set, the mes­sage in the win­dow

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