Child Development Centre administrative assistant Sara Fulton, left, counsellor and Foundry project lead, George Warr and executive director Vanessa Riplinger are inviting youth ages 12 to 24 to help design the Foundry in Williams Lake. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Williams Lake youth invited to help develop Foundry

Location of the new service hub yet to be announced

A one-stop-shop for youth to access mental health care, substance use services, primary care, social services and peer supports is coming to Williams Lake.

Part of a province-wide network, the Williams Lake Foundry will be housed in a brand new, yet to be disclosed, physical space to address the health and wellness needs of youth 12 to 24 and their families.

“It’s for youth by youth so we are setting up a youth advisory committee,” said George Warr, a counsellor at the Child Development Centre who is the Foundry project lead.

“I really want to hear from any youth who are passionate about the community and about the health and wellness of youth.”

Read more: B.C. continues expansion of Foundry youth mental health network

He is hoping many youth will want to help design the centre and say what services they need and during Mental Health Week, Oct. 4 to 10, he will be visiting Lake City Secondary Columneetza and Williams Lake campuses to talk with students.

It is a different model because usually service providers design services they think youth need and would get value from, but the Foundry model flips that on its head and asks the youth what they need and tries to make it happen.

“This is about collaboration. It’s not about replacing services or competing with other groups, it’s about providing additional service and we are going to work hard to ensure that we collaborate and that services we provide are complementary.”

While he could not divulge where the Foundry will be located, Warr confirmed they are finalizing a location that will need extensive renovations.

“It has to fit the Foundry brand as there are specific way it needs to be. It’s kind of like a franchise. Youth moving to Williams Lake who have been to the Foundry in Prince George will recognize it as the same kind of space.”

Warr has visited two Foundries so far and said they are very welcoming, bright and calming and casual.

“It does not feel institutional, but feels light and airy. There will be couches and free WiFi. It will be a safe space that youth can feel comfortable in.”

It will be convenient to the downtown and on a bus route, he added.

Interested youth are encouraged to check out the website and keep an eye out for the survey that will be launched in the near future for people to give their opinions.

Read more: Foundry youth centre funding approved for Williams Lake and area

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