New ‘One-stop Shop’ to Address Youth Needs in PG
Prince George, B.C. – A new integrated youth-service centre will open in Prince George this spring.
It’s called Foundry and its launch was celebrated by area MLAs and the community at Youth Around Prince (YAP) on Seventh Avenue today (the spot of its future location).
First announced last June, Foundry Prince George is one of five provincial sites – the others will be in Kelowna, Campbell River, Abbotsford and the North Shore– and all are modeled on the Granville Youth Health Centre in Vancouver.
It will serve youth aged 12-24 and will place primary-care, mental-health, substance-use, and social services under one roof. It will be hosted by the YMCA of Northern BC.
“I’m tremendously excited,” says YMCA of Northern BC CEO Amanda Alexander. “It is such an opportunity to build on the great work that we’ve been doing at YAP and we realize that we’re meeting certain aspects of those needs but this is an opportunity to create a one-stop shop where many organizations are working collectively – not just side-by-side but acting as if they were one organization to meet people’s needs.”
Ultimately, she hopes it will prompt youth in need to seek services earlier.
“I think we’re going to hit before things start to go really sideways. So, there’s an opportunity to come and access services for earlier intervention and I think we’re going to see more wrap-around support. Not just one service working in isolation.”
Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond adds the need certainly exists in Prince George.
“We are a hub city in northern B.C. and I think one of the things that makes us stand out is the fact that we have incredible organizations that cooperate collaboratively with one another,” she says.
“So, it is incredibly important that we were given the opportunity to have this site.”
Prince George-Mackenzie MLA Mike Morris – also the province’s minister of public safety and solicitor general – says it will also be an important tool for police officers.
“We haven’t had the tools as police officers, we haven’t had that spot where we know we could send these young individuals. So, this is a giant step forward.”
The Ministry of Health provided $3 million to the InnerChange Foundation in March 2015 to develop the centres.
The Graham Boeckh Foundation has pledged another $1.5 million with commitments from InnerChange Foundation and St. Paul’s Foundation to each fundraise $1.5 million.
Another $800,000 will be provided by the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research towards the evaluation and research component.
The YMCA of Northern BC is also pitching in and has started a local fundraising campaign with a goal of $250,000 to support the needs of Foundry Prince George.