Search

YMCA Thames Gateway to celebrate its 110th anniversary next month

PUBLISHED: 14:00 17 September 2016

Spinning class at the YMCA

Spinning class at the YMCA

YMCA Thames Gateway

Thousands visit, live and volunteer at YMCA Thames Gateway every year and as those behind the scenes make preparations for its 110th anniversary next month, Hayley Anderson finds out more about the community hub’s programme and the secret to its longevity.

Health and wellbeing manager Viki BainsfairHealth and wellbeing manager Viki Bainsfair

Fitness fanatics, excited pre-school children and pensioners making their way to the canteen all pass each other in the reception as another busy day at YMCA Thames Gateway begins.

With almost 200 different activities and group sessions held at the Rush Green charity every week, there is rarely a quiet moment.

“We are the biggest well-kept secret in Romford,” said health and wellbeing manager Viki Bainsfair.

“People see us from the outside and think it’s just a big tower block but if they come inside, they can see for themselves everything that we do here.

“We are everything to everyone.”

The story of the charity began in 1906 when a small group of Christians and businessmen from the area set up a YMCA “Red Triangle Club” in South Street, which provided support and used exercise as a positive activity for young men.

In 1915, the club was suspended as many members went off to fight in the First World War, but its good work did not stop as members continued to raise money for the war effort.

Several YMCA huts were also established in army camps throughout the borough, including one at Hare Hall – now the Royal Liberty School, Gidea Park, where poet Wilfred Owen was stationed.

After the conflict, the YMCA spent time in North Street, Main Road and Western Road before making the move to the premises in Rush Green Road, which cost £460,000 to build.

The new site, with 148 accommodation rooms, was opened in July, 1969 by the Duchess of Kent.

Viki, who has been working at the charity for 11 years, said: “It feels a bit unreal knowing that we have been running for 110 years.

“There have been so many changes and I think we have gone with the times and developed our programmes and how we work with people and that is a big part of why we are still here.”

There are a range of fitness activities for both the able-bodied and those with disabilities, including wheelchair basketball and gym equipment which meets the needs of all members.

Rehabilitation classes for individuals who have suffered strokes or cancer are also available.

“We live and breathe this, day in day out and I don’t think we celebrate our achievements enough,” said Viki.

“The anniversary will give us a chance to show that we are more than just a charity, we are like a community hub that has something for everyone.”

Latest Romford News Stories

12:30

The students at a Harold Hill school have been celebrating receiving their A-level results with many being able to go to their first choice university.

The 17-year-old victim of an apparent acid attack in Collier Row yesterday evening (Wednesday, August 15) was released from hospital last night and did not suffer any major injuries.

The principal of Havering Sixth Form College is “delighted” with this year’s successes in A-level and B-tec examinations.

Year 13 students at The Campion School in Hornchurch are celebrating a hugely successful year of A-level results that have left the school’s headteacher “over the moon”.

Coopers’ Company and Coborn School achieved its best A-level results in 15 years this week, and it’s no surprise its teachers are “extremely happy”

eFrances Bardsley Academy in Romford has woken up this morning to record-breaking A-level results that have been dubbed “the best in the school’s history”.

Students at St Edward’s Academy in Romford are celebrating after achieving a strong set of A-level and BTEc results.

Police officers are appealing for the public’s help in finding an 18-year-old woman from Rainham who has gone missing from a hospital in Goodmayes.

PROMOTED CONTENT

“The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining,” so the saying goes. So if some warm weather is making your conservatory uninhabitable, think about replacing its roof with a flat one and adding a roof lantern instead.

The next step in renewable energy could be right beneath your feet as you walk through a Romford shopping centre.

There are many reasons people decide to join a gym. Some want to pack on muscle for strength, train for endurance, or lose weight. But did you know it also does wonders for your mental health? Two members at Romford’s Better Gym in the Market Place talk about their personal fitness journey and the importance of replacing bad habits with good ones.

Newsletter Sign Up

Romford Recorder twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Show Job Lists

News from your area

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now