Council approves $5,000 grant for empowerment studio

KENILWORTH – The new owner of the Personal Empowerment Studio in downtown Mount Forest is receiving a township grant.

Melanie Needham now runs the studio, with space offered to local health organizations, according to a report to council from township community and economic development manager Mandy Jones.

Needham wants to provide the space to The Grove Hub for free youth mental health services, and also wants to launch a sensory-based program for people with autism.

“Part of this programming would include offering swinging hammocks, infrared light therapy, and music,” Jones wrote in her April 8 report.

But the older building’s ceilings can’t handle the weight of the hammocks and reinforcing structures would need to be built within the studio area to handle the added weight.

The township’s Community Improvement Grant – $35,000 has been budgeted this year – will provide $5,000 to help pay for the total estimated $14,500 cost of the structure.

Needham did not respond to a message seeking comment.

Since the program was launched in 2012, the township has provided 160 applicants with $472,993 for improvements, with applicants contributing $3.62 million.