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Photos: Penticton’s Unity House celebrates grand reopening on Main Street

People were able to tour the new facility and enjoy some activities too

After almost facing closure and the loss of services for the South Okanagan-Similkameen, the Canadian Mental Health Association celebrated the grand re-opening of Unity House on Main Street in Penticton on Wednesday.

The local branch had formerly operated out of one of the motel sites at the south end of the city, which were bought up by BC Housing last year. BC Housing gave the CMHA until April 2022 to find a new location.

“It was a real struggle to find a space to continue to offer mental health supports and services within the city, and the South Okanagan Similkameen,” said Leah Schulting, the executive director of the local CMHA. “There was a time when we were in jeopardy of losing the branch and not having these services available locally.”

With the support of community partners, volunteers and Interior Health, the CMHA was able to find a new location that was able to be renovated to keep their programs going.

READ MORE: BC Housing meets with Penticton’s Unity House after impassioned plea to stay

The new site is located at 1873 Main Street and features all new flooring, painting and a new kitchen for the CMHA’s meal program.

The Unity House is open seven days a week for anyone with a diagnosed mental illness to come in and participate in recreational activities, cognitive behavioral therapy and psycho-social rehabilitation among other benefits.

The CMHA’s lunch program also runs every day. There is a mental health advocate available for one-on-one appointments and a supportive employment program.

Around 50 people showed up for the grand re-opening to take a tour of the new facility, including members of government.

“We’re thrilled to see these faces here that came out to show that they care and they’re supportive of health in the city,” said Schulting.

Following the speeches were cheque presentations from the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen and the Summerland Auxiliary, and a ribbon cutting.

The CMHA was unable to hold their annual Ride Don’t Hide fundraiser in 2020 and 2021, due to the pandemic. To make up for the needed funding for their services, the CMHA will be hosting an all-new pickleball tournament from Sept. 16 to 18.

The CMHA is looking for players and supporters to participate, and anyone interested in learning more about the pickleball for mental health tournament and sponsoring it can call 250-493-8999.

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Brennan Phillips

About the Author: Brennan Phillips

Brennan was raised in the Okanagan and is thankful every day that he gets to live and work in one of the most beautiful places in Canada.
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