Chairs: the often overlooked backbone of our community centres

This has been a funding partnership of Northern Development

Chairs literally support community members as the community supports its members

The recent purchase of 500 chairs and 30 tables for the Robson Valley Community Centre elevates the gatherings of residents and visitors together during times of learning, training, sharing, celebrating and mourning.

Northern Development saw the importance of this investment and provided 70% of the funds required to purchase the tables and chairs. Now the facility can comfortably host more people for a diverse range of events, increasing revenue from rentals while providing opportunity for a variety of people. Rentals range from the community centre being a multi-day staging site for more than 300 people from Edmonton’s First Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry for annual winter training to a small group of students from the high school hosting a free community dinner.

Each event that is held in the Robson Valley Community Centre has positive effects on the village of less than 500 people. Perhaps the most apparent effects are economical: the venue is rented, staff are paid to prepare for and clean up after the event, local food and supplies are purchased and prepared, travelers are attracted to an event and stay in local accommodations, buying gas and food and event attendees may learn techniques that make them more efficient in their profession.

The effects that may be less obvious are the social benefits to the community members. In April 2018 a group of high school students from McBride Secondary School welcomed their supporters to the Robson Valley Community Centre for “Tacos and Tales”. This evening provided a free meal of tacos to members of the community, a slideshow presentation about the students’ recent trip to Mexico to build a home for an underprivileged family and gave a group of youth the opportunity to express their gratitude for the support of those in attendance.

“The community supports us extensively to go,” explained Derrick Shaw, former principal of McBride Secondary School. “The community gets to see what the kids experienced and how it impacted them and that encourages the community to continue to give… the community is super supportive of young people.”

With Northern Development’s financial support for equipment upgrades, 14 events in 2018 were held in the Robson Valley Community Centre, seating more than 4,000 people. The Trust is pleased to aid the community of McBride as they strive to comfortably welcome people to their community centre.

“Without the tables and chairs we’d just be standing there, looking at each other,” said Shaw.

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The Community Halls and Recreation Facilities program is no longer available.

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