By Cecilia Nasmith
The impact of the $63,300 Ontario Trillium Foundation grant that Cornerstone Family Violence Prevention Centre has received was celebrated Tuesday at a pre-groundbreaking gathering at the agency's Cobourg office.
Manager of communications and donor relations Carly Cunningham showed visitors the spot where construction will take place, in an under-used courtyard area on the east side of the Swayne Street building. A single-storey 110-sq.-ft. addition will provide much needed office space, but the bigger impact will be freeing up the community-service manager's office to become a much-needed fourth direct-service station.
These stations are where meetings, counselling and other services can be administered directly, Cunningham explained, and more than 600 women and children received such services last year. Even though there were only three such stations, she said, nobody failed to receive services – but in certain cases it took longer than it otherwise might have.
The plans have been in the works for some time, but the Trillium grant made them a reality. The grant will even be enough to furnish the vacated office to make it a more welcoming place with well-chosen artwork and comfortable club chairs.
The actual construction should begin by month's end, the press release said. The addition will expand the building's footprint and increase the agency's reach by 30%.
“Cornerstone is very excited to set this plan into motion and see the expansion come to life,” executive director Nancy Johnston stated.
“This expansion will allow us to accommodate additional space for direct service provision to clients in the community, as we are currently reaching capacity for programs.”
Northumberland-Peterborough South MPP David Piccini was delighted to learn of the plans, especially given the ever-increasing number of women and children in need of Cornerstone's services. And the saddest thing he could think of would be to imagine their being unable to receive the help they need.
“Freeing up additional room for programming is going to be really important,” Piccini said to Johnston.
“As a government, we want to support the great work you are doing.”
Piccini continues to support it personally too, offering a plug for the Sept. 28 12th annual Walk A Mile In Her Shoes fundraiser that will see him – and his father too, Piccini said – walk a mile in red high heels in support of the work Cornerstone does.