The directors of Summerland’s Penny Lane Society have donated $50,000 to the new Penticton Youth Centre.
“This is an amazing project,” said Bruce Hallquist, director of the Penny Lane Society.
“Everyone knows somebody who has struggled in their early years. Every family has been affected in some way. Whether it’s a son, a daughter or a grandchild. When kids struggle everyone is responsible to help make things better. It’s up to all of us to work together to make this happen.”
The Penny Lane Society is best known for operating the Penny Lane Bargain Outlet in Summerland from 2002 to 2013. During that time, the society put a few million dollars back into the youth community of Summerland and areas of the South Okanagan.
In 2013, the Penny Lane store closed its doors and the board of directors of the society created the Penny Lane Community Legacy Fund with the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan-Similkameen. Since that time, the Legacy Fund has been in a position to grant almost $100,000 to local groups.
The decision to support the new Penticton Youth Centre, located at 501 Main St., with a $50,000 gift represented a great opportunity, according to Penny Lane board member, Orv Robson.
“For years our organization has been supporting youth and children in need. This is a core value of our organization. We’ve been aware that Penticton didn’t have a centralized youth resource so we’re really pleased to see it all coming together and excited to be a part of it.”
Aaron McRann, executive director the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan-Similkameen, was also excited to receive the news of this gift.
“The youth centre represents the achievement of one of the three main goals of the YES Project, which was started in 2013 as a community-based collaboration between the community foundation, the United Way, and as many as 20 local agencies. To receive support from Penny Lane, which has built it’s philanthropic muscle by engaging directly with the community, represents another example of how much we can accomplish when we work together towards a common goal. I know Ian from PDCRS and our other community partners will be thrilled to hear this news,” said McRann.
Penticton & District Community Resources Society is the lead agency for Foundry Penticton, a new youth services hub that will be opening on the main floor of 501 Main Street in late fall of 2018.
“Foundry Penticton provides young people safe, non-judgemental care, information and resources, social services and other essentials for healthy living. Many local service providers will work from this space in a truly collaborative environment. The Penny Lane gift, from one grassroots community initiative to another, is exactly what Foundry Penticton is all about… all of us coming together to help kids,” Ian Gerbrandt is the director of child, youth and family services at PDCRS.
Penticton joins other centres launched in Kelowna, North Shore, Prince George, Campbell River and Abbotsford. The centres will offer easy and effective access to core services including primary care, mental health, substance use, sexual health, youth and family navigation supports, housing, supported employment, income assistance and education supports. Access to integrated services will help improve the health and social outcomes of young people aged 12 to 24 years in the community. Foundry Penticton anticipates being operational and accepting clients by fall 2018.
The Youth Centre will have new youth-focused tenants on the second floor starting in March of 2018 with Foundry Penticton set to open on the main floor in the fall.
“This is a big gift, but it’s important to remind our community that we’ve still got a ways to go. We need to raise $3 million for the youth centre and so far, with the Penny Lane gift, we’re at $1.1 million. That’s an amazing start, but there is work yet to do. I’d like to encourage regular citizens to think about how they can get involved, whether it’s with a big or small donation. This is as much about showing our youth how important they are to us as it is about raising money,” said McRann.
For more information about the Youth Centre, or to make a donation please visit the Community Foundation’s website at www.cfso.net or call 250-493-9311.
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