Undercurrent youth centre in Glace Bay to expand to Sydney

The successful Undercurrent youth centre in Glace Bay is expanding its operations to Sydney with support from New Dawn.


Undercurrent opened six years ago in the former Epworth United Church building in Glace Bay and runs a number of programs for young people of all ages, including sports, music and mentorship.

Its new Sydney location will be the former Salvation Army building on Prince Street, now owned by community development group New Dawn.

Old churches make great youth centres

Undercurrent’s executive director, Dave Sawler, says the organization was approached by New Dawn when it was conducting a review of its property holdings.

He says the Prince street building is a perfect fit for Undercurrent “because of what we do, like a lot of recreation. We need big rooms, so former churches actually work quite well. This building in Sydney once had a big sanctuary in it and it also had a hall, so for us, that’s the perfect type of space that we can transform into what we want.”

New Dawn president Rankin MacSween says his agency is anxious to help other organizations, especially those that deal with important community issues such as youth services.

‘No better investment’

He says New Dawn is happy to give up its office building and move into another one of its properties.

“These are iconic organizations that really do magnificent work, and there’s no better investment this community can make than to invest in our youth,” MacSween said.

Sawler says the purchase and sale agreement should be completed by the end of August. Without revealing purchase details, he says the deal with New Dawn is “very generous.”

$80,000 in renos

Undercurrent will take out a mortgage on the property, then fundraise to pay for the $80,000 in renovations needed to start operating in Sydney.

Sawler says once the Sydney centre is up and running, the search will begin for a building in New Waterford.

Originally appeared in...

CBC Nova Scotia, June 24, 2016