As Pyrmont’s population swelled in the 2000s, demand for community spaces and facilities mushroomed. When residents asked what was available in the community centre, the staff politely directed them to the gyms. When residents organised a fitness class for seniors, the application form asked how many participants would be indigenous, or members of parliament, or gay, lesbian, intersex or trans.
The Director of Community Services confirmed what was quite evident: the Centre was a City of Sydney asset, not the community’s. As the City was making little use of its asset, this was unhelpful.
Residents formed the Friends of the Pyrmont Community Centre, and were pleased to be consulted on the appointment a new Centre Manager. The group has worked happily with the staff to initiate and support a wide range of programs. Each community group takes a turn at hosting a community dinner for 50-70 locals; among the 50 programs now running are line dancing, yoga, a choir, book group, women’s art group, drama group and games. The Friends painted and decorated a dingy corridor as The Link, a quiet drop in space that also accommodates a book exchange and a link to the City Library Network. Friends also cleaned and repaired parts of the derelict Maybanke Centre to accommodate more activities.