FRC puts out feelers for northern satellite office

FRC executive director Pat Cope felt a social responsibility to make community programs easily accessible to the valley’s remote clients.

Family Resource Centre (FRC) executive director Pat Cope felt a social responsibility to make community programs easily accessible to the valley’s remote clients without the barriers of travelling to Invermere or Canal Flats to do it.

She met with Regional District of East Kootenay Area G director Gerry Wilkie and the Village of Radium Hot Springs mayor Clara Reinhardt on May 11th to brainstorm the best approach to creating a northern satellite office for the FRC.

“We want to increase accessibility for the families and individuals to the services that we provide,” said Ms. Cope, noting the idea was well-received by both dignitaries and would likely be moving forward.

“They were very positive about it and we had a great (conversation) to try and come up with some off the cuff-quick list of possibilities (regarding possible) locations.”

Although there weren’t any band-aid solutions to finding a safe location that would meet the demands of the surrounding communities, the desire to lessen the struggle of clients who are currently footing the bill to travel to access FRC programs — an important obstacle to overcome to improve the quality of services for Columbia Valley families — was voiced.

“I think the service(s) has to match the people (it serves), so the biggest barrier is probably that we need to identify the best fight,” said Ms. Reinhardt. “We just need to get creative but I think there’s potential.”

However, there’s lots of work ahead to get this project off the ground successfully.

“The next step is to continue to (find) a space or facility because we don’t have a specific facility in mind yet,” said Ms. Cope. “Services within the agency have been up and running for quite some time, other than our Better at Home program which is new, but most of the services we’re delivering (in Invermere and Canal Flats) would be delivered in that (Radium) satellite office.”

She highlighted the fact that the FRC has now been providing help to the Columbia Valley for more than 20 years.

Mr. Wilkie remained optimistic there would be a solution in store to help make this idea a reality.

“We are discussing the possibility of helping to fund  an extension of FRC services,” he told The Valley Echo in an email. “The FRC is a well-established valley agency with a good track record of provision of needed social services.”

In addition, Ms. Cope encourages anybody from Dry Gulch to Spillimacheen with suggestions for available spaces that have a bathroom, a private office for counselling and a separate area for others to meet in to contact the FRC with their ideas. It would be ideal for the FRC to find a wheelchair accessible location that would also be suitable for both seniors and new mothers.

“I would be really happy if they could give me a call,” she said, noting the idea to share a space with somebody would be another welcomed possibility. “We can explore the possibilities.”

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