Noting that “The group has turned this community around,” Fraser-Nicola MLA Jackie Tegart presented the Ashcroft HUB Society with a cheque for $10,000 last week. The money is intended to purchase more fitness equipment for the former Ashcroft Elementary School site, which the society has transformed into a vibrant community centre that plays host to meetings, workshops, arts groups, and more than a dozen regular users, many with an emphasis on health and fitness.
“Healthy living is so important,” says Tegart. And she acknowledges that the provincial government sometimes struggles with what to do with closed schools that were the heart of their community. “A small group of people with big ideas got together, and what they’ve done is fantastic.
“We live in a world of change,” says the MLA, who attended the school from Grades four through seven. “You can look at things negatively or positively; get stuck in the past, or move on.”
Vicky Trill, the HUB’s site manager, says she has been overwhelmed by the support the venture has received. “Without the support of the provincial government, the Village of Ashcroft, Second Time Around, School District No. 74, and so many others, we couldn’t have done it.”
She says that the society was looking for a pool table for the adult room at the centre, and there was one advertised for sale on Facebook. Trill suggested that anyone interested should donate $20 toward buying the table. “Within 24 hours we had the funds.”
The building boasts several fitness spaces: some dedicated, others flexible. A local photographer has set up a studio there, while Make Children First has an office at the site, and a mosaic artist has taken space in a former classroom. There’s a youth group room, a dance studio, and a fully-equipped fitness room, which is now open.
There are also several camps booked into the HUB over the summer, including science and arts camps, a TRYathlon training camp, and a soccer camp. Society member Juanita Little says it’s the HUB’s goal to eventually have something available for children at any time school isn’t regularly in session, such as non-instructional days and during Christmas and spring break.
Trill is excited about the future of the HUB as it attracts more and more users. “Everyone is working together to make this dream come true, and support this community venture.”