A new centre for youth to access mental health care, substance use services, primary care, social services and peer supports will be housed in downtown Williams Lake.
George Warr, Cariboo Chilcotin Child Development Centre counsellor and project lead for the Foundry Cariboo Chilcotin, said the site selected is where Canadian Mental Health Association used to be at 51 Fourth Ave. South as it has moved to above the Bank of Montreal.
“The youth are excited. They like the location, it’s near a bus stop.”
A designer has been hired and it will take about 10 months to gut the interior and renovate before the doors open.
The Women’s Contact Society will remain on the second floor of the building.
Warr has been meeting with a youth advisory council, mostly virtually due to the pandemic.
“We prefer to meet face to face over a slice of pizza but that’s been difficult because of the health crisis. Ihave five youth who are committed and have been coming to every meeting.”
He has also been meeting regularly with various partners from health care professionals to businesses, School District 27, the city, non-profits and other organizations to work out the logistics of the new centre.
“We had a parent online information session and we are going to start up our parent advisory committee in the new year so guardians and parents and people invested in youth welfare can add their own voice to what they want the foundry to look like and what services are needed.”
The name of the foundry has been changed from Williams Lake to Cariboo Chilcotin to represent the regional approach and the desire to represent people from the entire region.
“We will be in Williams Lake, but we want to be open to service youth wherever they come from. It’s important for us to be culturally neutral and accessible so that people feel welcome and valued.”