GALLERY: Brookswood Seniors Centre enjoys massive growth

Things are hopping at the Brookswood Seniors Centre.

And we’re not just talking about what’s happening on the centre’s recently renovated dance/exercise floor.

Local seniors have been gathering at the 55-year-old building, formerly a Mennonite Church, since the late 1970s.

Recently, it’s been the focus of a number of upgrades – and with that comes a jump in membership.

Over the last four years membership has grown from roughly 100 people to, at last count, 479.

Brookswood Senior Citizens president Bonnie Hartup said the centre on 36 Avenue just west of 200 Street is offering more programs than ever before, and this makes it a big draw for longtime members and newcomers alike.

Entirely operated by volunteers who are led by what Hartup describes as a “determined executive,” the centre now boasts line dancing, Zumba, dog dancing, square dancing, Mexican dancing, modern dancing, bridge, chess, cribbage, duplicate bridge, snooker, scrap-booking, quilting, embroidery, and the Meals on Wheels program, entitled Food and Friends.

Guest speakers are invited twice a month to provide information or entertainment during the centre’s lunch program.

As well, Cedarbrook Bakery provides the food for the luncheons that are organized by volunteer, Marion Dixon. Lydia Franscutti finds the speakers.

A new floor was installed to accommodate the many dance programs offered at the centre. The Surrey Square Wheelers migrated to the centre and along with them came 150 new memberships.

“This is a place to move your feet and exercise,” Hartup said.

The list of renovations is a long one.

Hartup said the Rotary Club of Langley under Alan Richmond and Dave Truman “stepped up” to build a wheelchair accessible ramp, two wheelchair accessible bathrooms, a storage shed, coat room, and new front entry way.

With several Capital Improvement Grants from the Township of Langley, Hartup said “a few highly motivated volunteers were able to restore every room, build new storage sheds, paint the entire interior and replace flooring.”

As well, the Township combined with the federal government and provided funds this past year to overhaul a very dingy dark pool hall with new flooring, walls, windows, lighting and snooker equipment.

The billiards room, pre-reno, was a “dilapidated looking place,” Hartup shared.

“It had bad carpeting, it had no lighting, the windows were all boarded up… so we put in new windows and we put in new flooring and new light fixtures.”

Several volunteers among the members donated funds and expertise to bring the centre back to life, Hartup said.

“Many dancers made donations so that a new dance hall floor could be installed,” she noted.

Hartup said, “people are discovering (the centre) is a good place, now, because it’s been renovated so well.”

She added with a laugh, “it doesn’t smell anymore, and it doesn’t have issues like it used to have.”

Next up is a new kitchen and a daily coffee morning.

There is a call-out for volunteers to help run the morning coffee drop in time. Call the centre at 530-4232.

Hartup said she is constantly amazed by the support in the community from businesses and members.

“Almost daily, people drop by looking for a place to meet their peers for a social time and a chance to mix with their neighbours,” Hartup said. “Brookswood is ideally situated in an area of older homes where many seniors live and these seniors need a readily accessible centre to drop in and meet up.”

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The Surrey Square Wheelers are headquartered at the Brookswood Seniors Centre, and in 2016-17, raised more than $9,000 for the Centre for Child Development. On May 1, a symbolic cheque was prepared for $4,194, from the Square Wheelers to the centre. Troy Landreville Langley Times

The dance/exercise floor at Brookswood Seniors Centre on 36 Avenue is almost always bustling with activity. Troy Landreville Langley Times

The billiards room in the basement of the Brookswood Seniors Centre has been completely renovated. Troy Landreville Langley Times

A wheelchair ramp attached to the Brookswood Seniors Centre helps those with mobility challenges access the building. Troy Landreville Langley Times

Generous donations from businesses, government, and individuals, have been integral in upgrades and renovations at the Brookswood Seniors Centre. Troy Landreville Langley Times

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