THE HAPPY Gang Centre kitchen is being renovated thanks in part to a $20,000 donation from local lottery millionaire Bob Erb.
Its last day of serving lunch is this Friday and renovations are scheduled to take a week, says Happy Gang Centre kitchen project coordinator Susan Broughton.
“The only things that are staying are the grill, the stove and the fridge. The rest is a total gut,” she said.
That means new cupboards, a dishwasher that will be rented, new counters and a new and more efficient tea and coffee serving area right outside of the kitchen.
Most important will be the installation of a tray rail system so that people with mobility or other issues won’t have to cope with balancing food trays as food is placed on them.
“Some of the people have walkers and some are in wheelchairs,” added Broughton.
The 40 volunteers who share kitchen duty will also have a rented dishwasher of the kind that dish and cutlery trays can be slid in one side and out the other.
“It’ll make for easier and more efficient handling,” said Broughton.
The centre opted to rent a dishwasher so that it can keep up to date with newer models requiring less maintenance and upkeep.
Broughton, who is acting as the go-between between contractor Progressive Ventures and the Happy Gang Centre membership, said it was important to include the volunteers in the renovations planning.
“They were able to make changes that fit their needs. This is a renovation project right down to the colours,” she said.
“This project is important to all of us. The kitchen is the heart of the centre. It makes the money to keep the bills paid. Without the centre, your average person will be sitting and looking at four walls.”
Other than replacing flooring and dishwashers when required, Broughton believes this is the first major kitchen project to be undertaken since the centre opened 33 years ago.
The last major project at the Happy Gang Centre was the installation two years ago of an elevator, making it easier to use the downstairs for recreational activities.