A new initiative in Hope aims to make social services more accessible to the people suffering with mental illness, addiction, isolation or other social issues.
Helping Others Pursue Excellence (H.O.P.E.) Project is an adult drop-in centre run by the Hope & Area Transition Society in the SOCIA building on Third Avenue. It’s designed to increase accessibility for clients, promote social inclusion and reduce redundancy among services so that time, energy and funding can be better focused on client needs in order to provide holistic treatment.
“As service providers and as clients, we have said for years we need a place for people to come and feel a sense of belonging, purpose and gained opportunities,” said Gerry Dyble, executive director of the Hope & Area Transition Society. “When grant funding became available through the Community Action Initiative last fall, many of us knew this could be the answer to our concerns.”
Hope & Area Transition Society was successful in securing $153,000 in funding for this project. Initial research and meetings with focus groups, clients and stakeholders was conducted by Ron and Anita Van Wyk of the Mennonite Central Committee.
H.O.P.E. connects clients with community resources and programs. It also promotes social inclusion by encouraging clients take an active role in their recovery and life plan. Clients are encouraged to participate in peer-led committees in which they take on roles such as cleaning the drop-in centre, organizing the library and volunteering.
Among the services provided at no cost to clients are a weekly lunch program, outdoor activities, art and First Nations Art programs, and access to computers. Monthly calendars listing a wide range of daily activities are available online at hope transition.org or at the drop-in centre. In the first three weeks of being open, 221 people came through the centre.
“It is through the relationships that we build with the people who access our services we will begin to see change in our community and ultimately the people that we serve,” said Dyble. “Each community partner and person will undoubtedly be instrumental in the ongoing success of this project through programs and services and we are hopeful that this project will be a sustainable service that will continue for years.”