No party for Lara as YMCA suddenly shuts
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