The Ridge Meadows Hospital Foundation kicked in $250,000 to get the new Foundry Ridge Meadows rolling. And it’s offering another $250,000 if people can match it. (Phil Melnychuk/THE NEWS)

Ridge hospital foundation helps with mental health

Donates a possible $500k for youth wellness

The drive to get Foundry Ridge Meadows rolling in Maple Ridge got a boost Monday with a $250,000 donation from an organization that usually raises money for hospital equipment.

The Ridge Meadows Hospital Foundation is branching out beyond the hospital, said Laura Butler, executive-director with the foundation.

Health care happens everywhere, not just within a hospital, Butler added at the new location of the Youth Wellness Centre on Lougheed Highway.

“Mental health is a part of health care,” Butler said in announcing the donation.

“But what we need to talk about more, and what we’re starting to talk about now is mental health and what that truly means. And this is the space where that happens.”

The Youth Wellness Centre moved to 22932 Lougheed Hwy. after the Sept. 14 flash flood in downtown Maple Ridge swamped its offices in the Greg Moore Youth Centre.

The centre is currently in the process of becoming Foundry Ridge Meadows, part of a provincewide network that offers mental health care, primary health care, substance abuse services, and family counselling, all in one location, for youth between 12 to 24 years old.

Operating funds of $500,000 yearly are from the Ministry of Health.

Foundry was preceded by Youth Wellness Centre, which offered similar programs in a pilot program between 2016 and 2017.

The Youth Wellness Centre opened in 2016 on a shoestring budget and had to raise money locally to begin offering programs.

Monday night, donors and members of the hospital foundation and Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Community Services had a tour of the new premises, which soon will be expanded into the space formerly occupied by the Frogstone Grill.

The new space will provide more room for programming, but will require about $1 million in renovations to connect it to the existing centre, and provide a total space of 5,600 sq. feet.

“It’s an amazing space. There’s a lot of potential in here,” said Alicia Erenli, with the centre.

Shelley Grogan, director of fund development with community services, which operates the Youth Wellness Centre, said the evening was a way of saying thanks to everyone who got the program started.

“We’ve got some strong fundraisers in this room.”

In addition to donating $250,000, the hospital foundation is also offering to kick in another $250,000 on a matching basis with any other money raised.

That will get people thinking about mental health, when they contribute, Butler added.

She said the $250,000 donation, is not really a gift from the hospital foundation, but “a gift from the community and that’s a gift from our donors.”

Vicki Kipps, executive-director with community services, said that 24 new kids a week are visiting the centre, to get help with whatever problem they’re facing.“It’s about transforming about how we support young people and doing it here in a whole different way. And the whole purpose … is that no youth or young adult will fall through the cracks,” said Kipps.

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Poetry reading told of youth struggling. (Phil Melnychuk/THE NEWS)

Foundry Ridge Meadows soon expands into former Frogstone Grill. (Phil Melnychuk/THE NEWS)

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