Time is marching on and the senior demographic is becoming larger.
Seniors today however, are an active part of the population and, in Southampton (Saugeen Shores), one of the most vibrant community hubs is the Chantry Centre 55+, that is celebrating 30 years of meeting the social needs of seniors.
On Saturday, June 25th, members and community guests filled the Centre as it held its 30th Anniversary celebration.
Founding member, Vicki Pickup, told the history of the Centre and how it came to be. “In 1990, there was a vacancy on the-then Town Council and I applied and was appointed. At that time, 45 per cent of Southampton’s population were seniors who needed a place to congregate and I had to do something – 30 years later, it is still here.”
Sybil Mercer, past-President and active member said that, “The Centre would not exist if it weren’t for Vicki. She saw a need in the community and had a vision to see that the building could provide the answer. It took team spirit and that still exits today.”
Among the many invited guests were Huron-Bruce MP Ben Lobb, Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson and Saugeen Shores Mayor Luke Charbonneau.
Mayor Luke Charbonneau pointed out that the Centre is all about coming together. “It’s all about fellowship and friendship at its best and what makes it great are the incredible volunteers.”
MP Ben Lobb added that it is a great centre. “We all know the importance of the social component that goes into creating and maintaining a social network particularly as people age. I also reiterate that it is the volunteers who make it what it is.”
MPP Lisa Thompson also said that, “The Centre is fostering a sense of community and bringing people together and, after 30 years, for that you need to celebrate .”
Following the speeches, the Centre unveiled an unusual wallhanging made up of squares hand-crafted in a variety of techniques by individual members. Each square represents a time or event in the 30 year history of the Centre.
Sybil Mercer, who was the first President of the Chantry Centre, is past-President and co-founder of the ‘Rug Hooking’ chapter, explained the meaning behind each of the squares. The piece of artwork will be hung in a prominent location within the Centre.
President Connie Barker thanked the many sponsors and volunteers who have supported the Centre through the years. “There are so many who have helped the Centre. We have had the Chantry Island Cham-bettes, who have each year hosted the Octogenarian luncheon. We also have the local businesses who helped us with the picnic tables and the list goes on. We have had so many sponsors and businesses who have helped in so many ways. We could not however, done anything without the support of the Town. No matter what we asked for, they were there.”
For more about the Chantry Centre 55+ and its many activities … Click Here