Haliburton youth hub finds a home
|By Lisa Harrison - Contributing Writer | May 31, 2018|
The site of Haliburton’s new youth hub was announced at last week’s hospital board meeting.
Stephanie MacLaren of Haliburton Highlands Health Services (HHHS), a local student and representatives from Point in Time Centre for Children, Youth and Parents (PinT) made a presentation. HHHS and PinT will serve as co-leads, with recently-announced provincial government funding flowing through PinT.
PinT executive-director Marg Cox, in a phone interview after the meeting, said that while the amount of provincial government funding has not yet been announced (they asked for close to $1 million), the PinT board has agreed to proceed with the purchase of the Lighthouse Pentecostal Church on Dysart Ave. as the hub location. The closing date is July 31. The mortgage has been approved by the Haliburton County Development Corporation, which Cox called “a great community partner” and renovations will be required for accessibility.
Haliburton was recently chosen as one of 10 new sites for Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario (YWHO). YWHO is billed as a “one-stop shop” model that brings together services such as mental health, addictions, primary care, housing, education, employment and more, based in part on feedback from youth and their families. Mary Sisson, a youth justice worker with PinT, told the board the number of students diagnosed with anxiety has risen substantially and there is a growing need for local mental health support services.
“The Youth Wellness Hub is one of the best things we could have happen to us,” the student, Joey, added.
Hub operating hours will depend on the funding amount, said MacLaren. Students from outlying communities will be given transportation home. In addition to community support services, local groups such as Abbey Gardens, Sticks and Stones Productions and the Fleming College campus have all expressed an interest in supporting the hub.
In the follow-up phone interview, MacLaren and Cox said several students toured the church and gave it the thumbs up in part because it’s located in what they call the “entertainment district, which includes the arena and the new skateboard park, said Cox. They’re already planning new décor.
“I think it’s really a tremendous opportunity for them to inhabit a space of leadership in the community in a way that they perhaps haven’t been able to before, and to see how much esteem and value the community holds for its youth, I think will be huge [for them],” said MacLaren.
The provincial funding will primarily go toward infrastructure, said Cox. Programming will be provided “in a large part” by partner organizations relocating their services or some of their staffing to the hub program. More information on YWHO is available at youthhubs.ca.
SUE TIFFIN is a reporter for The Highlander.