The Clements Centre has begun a capital campaign to raise funds for a new $8-million child and family development centre in the Cowichan Valley.
Centre spokeswomen Dianne Hinton and Leslie Welin spoke to the council in North Cowichan at its meeting on Jan. 16 to discuss its campaign, called “Champions for Kids”.
Hinton said that with a rapidly expanding population, demand at the Clements Centre’s Sundrops Centre for Child Development is quickly outpacing available resources, making it harder for families in the region to have acceptable access to a central resource for child-development services.
She said building a new and larger child and family development centre in the heart of the community will provide children at all stages of childhood improved access to the vital services they need and link families to other community services more efficiently and effectively.
“To meet the growing demand, we have purchased property on Banks Road that will be used for the new centre which will provide the critical resources and services that are needed,” Hinton said.
“The Clements Centre investment fund will contribute $1 million towards the centre, and we need to raise another $7 million. Our operational budgets are covered by government grants and other sources, but we receive no funding for capital projects and that’s why we’re beginning the Champions for Kids campaign.”
The Clements Centre for Community Living has been providing services and programs that enhance the lives of children and youth with special needs, adults with developmental disabilities, and their families in the Valley for 60 years.
With 150 employees, a payroll of $4.5 million and an annual budget of $8 million, the centre has evolved into a major economic driver for the region.
North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring said the municipality doesn’t currently have a lot of money and asked the delegation what is expected of council.
Welin said there are many ways for North Cowichan and the Clements Centre to work together on the project, including letters of support from the municipality and help with the costs of attaining development permits.
“We’re just looking for support for the project for now, and we’ll be back to talk to you again as the campaign develops.”
Hinton said that the new centre will be a service for the whole Valley, so other local governments and organizations will also be asked for their support in its construction.