ACF15339

Sooke Seniors and Youth Community Centre

  • Submitted by:

    Johanne Thompson

    Organization:

    Sooke Region Volunteer Centre

    Location:

    Sooke, BC

  • Idea Created:

    October 14, 2012

    Budget:

    $100k - 150k (< 2014)

Overview:

Overview: The District of Sooke is a small town on the west coast of Vancouver Island.  Incorporated in 1999 Sooke has a population of approximately 10,000 and serves as the business/service centre to the outlying communities of East Sooke, Otter Point, Shirley, Jordan River and Port Renfrew, adding another 5,000 to the total residents served.  The Sooke Region has a relatively young population when compared to the Provincial average and has a healthy retired population as well.  Recent Capital Region District figures show that the District of Sooke has grown from 8,735 people in 2011 to 11,723 people in 2011. That is an unbelievable growth rate of approximately 34% in just 10 years.  Sooke started out as a farming community and evolved into what it is today due to the strong volunteer commitment.  We have laid claim to the title ‘Volunteer Capital of Canada’ and are well in the running to living up to that title. Despite the small population, Sooke Residents volunteer their time and take part in an astonishing 160+ Community Groups and Non-Profit Organizations. We do not have a Youth Centre and three years ago our Seniors Drop-in Society lost their space.  Now we not only don’t have much for young people to do but our seniors are also left without a long term place to meet and socialize.  We need a Community Centre that will serve all ages with a specific focus on youth and seniors. Timing is perfect for a collaboration of non-profit youth, senior and community organizations to negotiate with the developers of a new complex called ‘Mariners Village’ here in Sooke.  Their newest building will be completely accessible, at street level and on the main bus route.  The developers are willing to work with us to the level they can to support this project.  The District of Sooke is also committed to supporting the health and wellness of their citizens of all ages.  The Vancouver Island Regional Library is interested in this location and the possibility of partnering with a Community Centre.  Additionally, many local businesses have expressed verbal commitments to support a Community Centre. With the various parties involved and their respective interests it is important to develop a business plan outlining costs, usage of space, and how each user will fund their use.  Regardless, shared resources will be a win-win situation for all. We believe that despite the size of our small community we will be able to pull together the many volunteers, generous business owners, grant opportunities and powers that be to make this project happen.  It took 40 years for our community to convince the powers that be that we could build and fill a 40 bed extended care facility (which we did).  We don’t intend to wait that long for a Community Centre. A number of community groups have been working on finding a new home for our seniors since 2009.  Other groups have been exploring avenues for a youth centre, and another group has been working to create a Volunteer Centre for the Region.   One of the reasons we are keen to apply through the AVIVA grant opportunity is that it requires community engagement.  We will be reaching out to the communities in our region through local papers, radio & television as well as at community functions.  We are ready to roll.  We have lots of community involvement already and are looking forward to engaging the greater community to help design a brand new Community Centre!