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Government grant to support up to five new positions at Foundry in Maple Ridge

B.C. government announced a $16.2 million grant for Foundry centres across B.C.
Money from a provincial grant will be going towards supporting six new positions for peer support at Foundry Ridge Meadows. (The News files)

Ridge Meadows Foundry will be hiring up to five new positions thanks to a provincial grant.

The B.C. government announced a new $16.2 million grant recently for 13 Foundry centres across the province.

“We are currently working out what that budget specifically looks like for Foundry Ridge Meadows,” explained Alicia Erenli, manager of Foundry Ridge Meadows and the Youth Housing Program.

What she does know, however, is the money will be going towards supporting either two full-time peer support positions, or four part-time peer support positions, and a supervisor position.

“This is really a game changer in regards to dedicated funds for a core service because its so much more than filling a position. Its ensuring there is supervision and support, time built in for the behind the scenes and admin work, community of practice and peer connection – understanding capacity is necessary,” she said.

The government announced the grant Monday, Feb. 13, saying the funding will expand innovative your peer support services at the Foundry centres that offer multiple integrated health and wellness services for youth aged 12 to 24 years old and their caregivers.

Services include mental-health and substance-use support, physical and sexual health care, youth and family peer support services, and social services like employment assistance, education and facilitating connection to housing.

READ MORE: Foundry Ridge Meadows now fully open

Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, noted how peer support workers have first-hand knowledge of the challenges youth face who mental health and addiction issues and how they can help “youth overcome barriers to employment and turn lived experience into work experience. “

The provincial grant is for three years and comes from the 2022-23 Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Development Agreement.

In addition to funding youth peer support workers, the money will also be used to evaluate the effectiveness of youth peer support as a core service in primary health-care settings for young people.

RELATED: Ridge Meadows Foundry unveils mural created by Katzie artist and youth collaborators

“When young people make the courageous decision to reach out for help, we need services to meet them,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.

“Peer support workers are a critical component of the services Foundry provides. This grant will help youth get the services they need and deserve, as we continue to open more Foundry centres across the province in the months to come,” she advised.

Erenli noted that demand for youth peer support has increased significantly over the last two years with peers with similar lived and living experiences wanting to connect.

“This opens space to provide support, mentorship and encouragement to others facing similar situations. These funds will allow growth in our peer support team which opens capacity to support any young person in our community.”

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Colleen Flanagan

About the Author: Colleen Flanagan

I got my start with Black Press Media in 2003 as a photojournalist.
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