7 May 2020

YMCA here to help community as COVID-19 recovery starts

The YMCA (the Y) is defying a 70 percent nationwide operational downturn to stand with the Australian community and help it take the first steps to recovery from the impacts of Coronavirus COVID-19.

Delivering frontline services and programs in 640 communities across Australia, the Y is seeing and hearing the impacts of COVID-19 on people first-hand including from its own 12,000 employees, of which 60 per cent are under 30.

With a 175-year legacy of supporting people through events such as two World Wars, the great Depression, and more recently, the Global Financial Crisis, the Y is well-placed to understand the impacts of global crises and assist people and communities recover.

The Y’s National CEO Melinda Crole said that while support subsidies such as JobKeeper were important, many people across the nation had been severely impacted and needed support to move forward.

“We’ve had to stand down or de-roster 8,632 staff with 70 per cent of our operations now either closed or operating at reduced capacity. And unfortunately almost one in three of those stood down or de-rostered, largely casuals, weren’t eligible for JobKeeper.”

“In saying that, we are still here for people and communities – we’re just doing it in different ways,” she said.

YMCA South Australia CEO, David Paterson, said the leading not-for-profit continued to work hard locally to ensure it offered and maintained services to communities including child care, outside school hours care, school holiday programs for at-risk youth and disability services, including some online.

“Despite the substantial hit to our South Australian services, the Y is still able to demonstrate what we are about and we continue to assist our communities in many ways during this difficult time,” he said.

“We’ve focussed on providing children’s services, personal support for the elderly through phone calls, and online classes and activities to help people remain active and connected. A great example of our commitment was our recent partnership with the Department of Human Services to provide a safe school holiday environment for vulnerable children at four of our centres.”

This partnership saw vulnerable children between the ages of 12 and 18 from difficult home environments offered daily school holiday programs at the St Clair Recreation Centre, The Parks Recreation and Sports Centre, John McVeity Centre and Marion Leisure and Fitness Centre.

“We’re proud that we could be proactive in this space and continue our dedication to building healthy communities – that will never change,” said Mr Paterson.

The Y is planning to restart its in-Centre programs and services in line with government guidelines on the relaxation of restrictions due to be announced in the coming days and weeks.

“There is no doubt that the full range of community services we provide Australia are needed now and they are going to be needed more than ever once we get through this pandemic,” said Ms Crole. “Support from Governments and aligned partners for the community sector will help us expand on this vital work moving forward.”

About the Y

The Y is a community not-for-profit and the oldest youth organisation in the world (175 years’ old). Services include: children’s services (early learning, kindergarten and OSHC), recreation (swimming, gyms, gymnastics), camping, youth programs and disability services.

The Y’s services experience more than 29.5 million annual participations, including 9.84 million children participations and 1.2 million youth participations annually.

For interviews with the YMCA South Australia CEO David Paterson please contact
Devan Seamans M: 0413 448 909 E: