By 4BRANT Team
Lansdowne Children’s Centre needs a larger facility.
The organization that serves Brantford and County of Brant has kept its light under a bushel basket for more than 20 years: except, for the thousands of kids and their families who received help during that time.
The walls are now bursting at the seams on Mount Pleasant Street in Brantford and there is a waiting list for more than 1,000 children.
Neighbours have noticed that with the growth of services and clients, staff have started parking on the streets.
Rita-Marie Hadley said the growth is positive, but is presenting challenges.
Rita Marie Hadley, executive director of Lansdowne Children’s Centre
“It is a success story that Lansdowne services have grown to serve so many more but adding staff to meet these needs means we no longer fit into our main home,” she said.
With satellite service locations and professional staff having to travel to remote locations to deliver that service, Hadley, management, staff and the board of directors have recognized the problem and have been working to find solutions and efficiencies.
Jim Parrott, Lansdowne Children’s Centre board of directors
Jim Parrott, chair of the capital steering committee said they are exploring every opportunity.
“In our Committee’s due diligence, it is essential that we pursue all potential opportunities during our planning process,” he said.
The facility has 2,500 kids currently receiving treatment for physical, developmental or communication needs for Autism, Cerebral Palsy and other conditions.
Parrott emphasizes that due to these factors they have appealed to all levels of government for help.
“We have made our elected municipal leaders, provincial and federal representatives aware of our need for them to be part of the solution,” he said.
Many in the community don’t realize that beyond provincial funding, children’s services are not completely government funded. Capital expenses like new facilities are Lansdowne’s responsibility.
Lansdowne’s staff and board are adamant that all planning must be transparent and collaborative.
Hadley said the community needs to come together to find the best solution.
“As we need all sectors pulling together to ensure our children and youth with special needs are able to receive services needed to reach their potential in appropriate space, Lansdowne has presented to both City and County Councils in the public domain. No one from Lansdowne has been part of any in-camera councillor meetings,” she said.
No options have been either accepted or rejected by the Lansdowne board at this stage of research and planning.
David Young, Chair of Lansdowne’s Board of Directors said the board is working hard to find a solution.
David Young, president Lansdowne Children’s Centre board of directors
”Our board is working diligently to address the urgency of our crowding so that we can continue to be able to make a difference for children and youth who live with special needs in all of the communities in our catchment area,” he said.