By Breanne Massey

Pioneer Staff

The bond many people feel with the Family Resource Centre is expected to grow while the services expand their reach to Canal Flats.

The Village of Canal Flats has agreed to rent a room in the Columbia Discovery Centre to the Family Resource Centre for a lump sum payment of $1 for the next five years.

The partnership aims to improve access to programming and attract new families to the community.

We are very excited to see services come to Canal Flats, such as the Family Program, Youth Outreach and Engagement, Employment Services, Early Learning Centre for children under six and their families, said Mayor Ute Juras by email. This will not only help existing families access these programs where they live, but will also help (us) in attracting new families to the community.

The opportunity to expand community programming to Canal Flats has encouraged positive change, according to Family Resource Centre executive director Pat Cope.

We believe that its really important to reduce as many barriers as we can for families and individuals to access services, said Ms. Cope. The lack of transportation that meets the needs of individuals coming in for appointments is one of the biggest barriers in the valley. We have a transportation system, but its pretty rudimentary.

She added that travelling to an appointment with children is not always the easiest task.

It can be challenging, said Ms. Cope. We can do a better job of serving our catchment area in the north and south with a satellite office (and) a hub in Invermere one in the south and one in the north.

While the programs that are being delivered in Canal Flats are still tentatively scheduled, Ms. Cope is eager to offer whats needed to improve life for the community. She showcased the Canal Flats satellite office to representatives from the Ministry of Children and Family Development during a tour on May 7th and expects to see them return for a follow up on the project this fall.

The Family Resource Centre is setting up their location now and Ms. Cope believes the office will be open up to four days a week.

The space is really welcoming and I think people are going to feel really safe and comfortable there, said Ms. Cope, adding theres a grand opening being scheduled. But the dates have yet to be determined.

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