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YMCA looking to evolve with downtown by seeking a partner for Centre Branch facility

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YMCA of southwestern Ontario has issued a formal request for expressions of interest to revitalize the Waterloo Street facility.

“Centre Branch YMCA has been a steadfast support system for many in downtown London for over 40 years, and we deeply value the support of our members, staff, and volunteers,” said Andrew Lockie, CEO, YMCA of southwestern Ontario. “As we envision the next 40 years and beyond, it has become evident that there’s an opportunity to modernize and enhance this location in response to our community’s evolving needs.”

“We believe that with the right community partner, we can revitalize Centre Branch YMCA and are very excited to take the first step on this journey,” he said.

The request stresses it is not a plan to close the branch, but a way to better serve the growing need in the core of the city.

“It’s been 41 great years here and we’re looking to 41 more located downtown,” said Centre Branch GM Colin Galloway.

YMCA has evolved over time, from a ‘doing it themselves’ model in the early days, to now working with partners to establish and elevate the service they provide, according to Lockie.

“We’ve learned that’s how you get these things done. Now it used to be that a YMCA would fundraise a certain amount and buy a plot of land or have it donated and hire a contractor and build a ‘Y’ and it would stand alone. But we know now the way forward is to work with partners, they could be social service partners, they could be development partners for the development of housing concepts,” said Lockie.

The expression of interest is only the first step of a process expected to take years to complete. No impact to the facility is expected while the process is ongoing.

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