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Hub centralizes support for South Okanagan
After years in the making, the one-stop, family services shop is now open for business.
The Penticton Community Hub as it’s now known, is a joint venture by a wide range of local agencies and organizations to make it easier for those requiring assistance to get the help they need as quickly as possible.
The Hub will operate out of the Queen’s Park Elementary School StrongStart room and is open to anyone who needs advice, assistance or information.
Drop in hours are Monday and Friday from 1-3 p.m. and Wednesdays from 5-7 p.m.
Last week’s grand opening included representatives from a large number of the groups taking part in the program.
“We know that for many families, navigating the social service system can be a daunting task,” said Tanya Behardien, executive director of Penticton District Community Resources Society, one of the groups involved. “Add to that, many families are faced with the stress of unemployment or are headed by single parents or even both parents working more than one job to make ends meet.
“Finding the time and capacity to access help or assistance for their kids can be extremely difficult during an already stressful period.”
Other partners in this venture include: Communities for Kids, Success By 6 and the Penticton School District. Supporting agencies include: Interior Health, OSNS Child Development Centre, Mental Health, Child Care Resource and Referral, Boys and Girls Club and the Ministry of Children and Families.
“I think what this is doing is bringing the social services to the community, that just helps get the assistance that families need to them,” said Riley Gettens, director of South Okanagan Similkameen United Way which also participates in the venture. “It’s (program development) been going on for a few years and we always are trying to help build the community and we know that we can’t do it alone.
“The great part about this is that it’s a collaboration of services all coming together to help our neighbours out which is a crucial aspect of the project.”
Making the Hub even more people-friendly is the fact appointments are never necessary, so parents dropping their children off at school can stop in and ask questions or get advice on matters relating to their needs.
“Providing service at a community level increases the accessibility, and perhaps, for someone, that will make a difference between getting help or not,” said Gettens. “Building a strong community is the United Way’s goal and that is what makes this initiative so exciting. It is grassroots collaboration that will have impact.”
Many of the ideas for the concept have come directly from the parents and others who have need of the services because organizers believe they are the ones who know the needs the best.
“This is something that Penticton and area can be proud of.” said Corinne Valleau, childcare resource and referral co-ordinator with PDCRS.