Moruya Opens Revamped Surf Club

The fruits of two-and-a-half years of hard labour were there for everyone to see at the re-opening of the Moruya clubhouse last weekend, and there was even a famous face on hand to witness the celebrations.

Champion Paralympian Michael Milton joined club, government and other representatives to open the revamped club house and take part in the club’s presentation day.

President Michael Hallahan believes it marks the dawn of a new era for the Far South Coast based club, with over $70,000 worth of volunteer labour making the project possible.

The club’s own fundraising efforts were combined with donations from local sponsors, council and a grant of more than $200,000 through the NSW Government’s Surf Club Facility Program.

“I guess you could say that the overwhelming emotion at this point is just relief. The club and the community have worked so hard on this project, and to see it opened is a great feeling. We’ve had incredible community support and have been well-supported not only by club members, but also friends of club members,” Mr Hallahan said.

“Michael Milton was kind enough to come down to the ceremony. He spoke really well and is such a down-to-earth person. Everyone really enjoyed meeting him and we appreciate his time.”

Of high importance to the club in recent seasons has been the Special Nippers program, which has provided an opportunity not only for the youngsters with disabilities to be included in Surf Life Saving, but also their parents to meet in a social setting.

“The Special Nippers program has been a wonderful bonus for our club as it sends a clear message to our community that we are serious about being inclusive,” Mr Hallahan said.

“Feedback from the parents and the kids themselves has consistently been very positive. After each training session we have a barbeque back at the club and it’s a really relaxed social setting for everyone.”

“Really it (the Special Nippers program) was the catalyst for the re-development as we realised that our club wasn’t accessible to those with a disability; in some cases the physical layout just wasn’t appropriate,” he said.

There have been a number of challenges along the way mostly relating to the sheer costs of the renovations, but the Moruya community has risen to all of them.

Plans are in place to expand the kitchen facilities and finish some painting here and there, but for now the members are delighted with their new club house. The club is hoping that the revamped facilities will mean that it becomes an even more important part of the community.

“We’ve had a lot of support and the Surf Club Facility Program grant really helped us kick-start the project, it’s doubtful that we would have even been able to get started without it.

“Yes it’s been a huge commitment particularly in terms of finances, but we’ve had a lot of generous support from a range of people and organisations. I think we can all be proud of our revamped club house,” Mr Hallahan concluded.

Photograph (Top): An outside shot of the revamped clubhouse.
Below: Michael Milton wows the crowd.
Pictures courtesy of Moruya SLSC.

Fri 22 May 2015