Ron Antalek is on fund-raising committee for Youth Wellness Centre. (THE NEWS/files)

Ron Antalek is on fund-raising committee for Youth Wellness Centre. (THE NEWS/files)

Maple Ridge just saved a million dollars

City’s help for Youth Wellness Centre no longer needed

The City of Maple Ridge helped the Youth Wellness Centre in its early stages, from providing a nurturing place within the Greg Moore Youth Centre for its first two years, to even offering a million dollars to help it find a new home.

But the centre found a place of its own in September, at 22932 Lougheed Hwy., and no longer needs the money from Maple Ridge.

The Youth Wellness Centre opened in 2016, providing one-stop help to kids needing personal, psychological or medical help.

After relocating to the larger site, more than 5,000 sq. feet, the Youth Wellness Centre became part of the provincewide Foundry program, which provides the same services on a larger scale.

Prior to finding a leased location, organizers had been trying to pay for and construct their own building. The city had approved donating some of the land next to the Greg Moore Youth Centre, worth about $500,000 and adding another $500,000 to help with construction costs.

But with a leased location and funding from the province, the city’s money is no longer needed. The larger location has also increased the number of kids who are being helped.

A Dec. 4 report from Tony Cotroneo, Maple Ridge’s manager of community engagement, said that the Youth Wellness Centre has ended its lease with the city “and previous commitments from the city for this project are no longer required.”

The Youth Wellness Centre, in 2017, received half a million dollars a year in funding from the Ministry of Health.

Under the Foundry program, mental health care, substance use services, social services and family support are all offered to youth on the principle that the earlier kids get help, the easier it is to get back on track with their personal lives, school or work.

The goal of each Foundry outlet is to help 2,500 kids between 12 and 24 years old, each year.