The Timmins Native Friendship Centre (TNFC) will be able to provide all its services under one roof when it moves to a new building in March 2013.
The TNFC is moving to a former elementary school located at the corner of Cedar Street South and Kirby Avenue. The two-storey building will feature a space of 30,000 square feet – 18,000 square feet more than its current two locations combined.
TNFC executive director Veronica Nicholson said the centre has always been looking to acquire another location with more space.
“One of the primary reasons is that we’re at two locations right now and it was either look to be under one roof or open another site,” she said.
The current facility, which opened in 1993, is located on Spruce Street South and has about 10,000 square feet. The organization also has another smaller site – with about 2,000 square feet – where it provides four more programs.
The new site was an elementary school that closed down due to declining enrollment numbers. TNFC submitted a letter of interest to acquire the building. With office space becoming more cramped, Nicholson said the decision was a no-brainer.
“It wasn’t a question of to do it or not to do it,” she said. “We had to do it.”
The additional space will allow the expansion of services, including the Oppekehawaso Wekamik Daycare. The daycare was developed in partnership with the Cochrane District Social Services Admin Board and opened in 2006.
“With our move, it allows us to expand our daycare with an infant room and family resource centre,” Nicholson said.
The location of the new site was also an important factor.
“It’s really going to be centrally located and because we are a community-based friendship centre and it was important for community members to be on this side of town because it’s so accessible,” Nicholson said.
Last year, TNFC served 18,000 clients through its 22 programs in areas such as education, employment and training, and family and youth support. While the 2006 Census puts the Timmins Aboriginal population at 3,200, the Ontario Federation of Indian Frendship Centres puts the figure at 14,000.
Nicholson said the new location will allow the organization to better serve the growing Aboriginal population.
“We know that there’s still a lot of gaps to address and if we could be a good partner to address those gaps, this gives us a good opportunity,” she said.
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