By Judith van Berkom –
One of four recreation centres in Ottawa serving the older adult population, Churchill Seniors Recreation Centre on Richmond Road in Westboro recently reopened after a four-month closure for outdoor renovations, making the centre more accessible to an ageing population.
Phase one of two reversed the outdoor handicapped ramp, created wrap-around stairs in the entrance, and replaced indoor carpeting with laminate flooring. Phase two won’t shut down the centre but will concentrate on restoring and cleaning the old stonework on the outside of the heritage building.
The original building dates back to 1896. It once served as the Town Hall for what was then the Township of Nepean. The Churchill Seniors Centre came into being in the 1960s, in the heritage building and former fire hall with the new addition added in 1996.
Funded by the City of Ottawa, the Churchill Seniors Centre specializes in Integrative Care for clients who have suffered a major event such as a stroke, or heart attack or those with chronic diseases such as Parkinson’s or clients who come from nursing homes requiring supervision and direction as they rehabilitate. Referrals are often made from the Ottawa Heart Institute, Royal Ottawa, and St. Vincent’s Hospital. The ratio of specialized fitness trainers to clients for this class is smaller than a normal fitness class and long-standing, trained volunteers work one-on-one with clients to integrate them back into the community.
Janice Davis, Recreation Supervisor, has been with the centre for five years. She explains that although the focus has been largely on fitness at the centre in past years – fitness equipment and classes are full from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily – input is sought from both client feedback and the Friends of Churchill group, and they are always open and receptive to new ideas.
A recent, innovative initiative resulting from a grant application, received an overwhelming response. Free botanical art and ukulele lessons were offered on a first-come-first-serve basis to seniors in the community and were very popular. The focus is shifting to include more of the arts and hopefully, free classes in the New Year, and art classes on a regular basis for a reasonable fee.
Churchill Seniors Recreation Centre offers a variety of events such as a monthly book club – with a second book club scheduled to start November 29. The singing of traditional folk music from the 1950s to 1980s with the Friends of Rasputin’s will start up again on November 15 and continue every third Friday of the month. No singing experience is necessary.
In addition, the Belles and Beaus Choir rent space at the centre and practice every Tuesday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. For information, contact Janice at the Churchill Seniors Recreation Centre at 613-798-8927 or by email at Janice.Davis@ottawa.ca.
The Older Adult Activity Guide for Fall 2017 and Winter 2018, lists all of the courses offered by City of Ottawa recreation centres, including the Churchill Seniors Recreation Centre, and can be picked up at the centre. To register online, see ottawa.ca/ recreation or call 613-580-2588.