PALMERSTON – Local youth now have a one-stop shop for mental health and wellness with the official opening of the Palmerston Grove Hub on Sept. 23.
“It’s a really cool place. It’s nice to come in. There’s a music room. I love playing music, so I get to play music where people actually enjoy it,” said Ella Raynard of Moorefield, a Grade 10 student at Norwell District Secondary School, which is located directly across from the centre.
Raynard has been a regular attendee at the centre since it opened a few weeks ago.
After months of pandemic isolation, she said it’s been great for students to have a place to gather safely.
“We were inside all the time. I only got half my Grade 9 year at Norwell because the other half I was at home,” she explained.
“So this was a really good place to come in and meet new people and join up with friends while still being within the COVID rules.”
Through collaboration with local youth, The Grove Hubs were developed as a grassroots community initiative launched in 2018 by the Rotary Club of Guelph and a project of several community partners.
Providing youth aged 12 to 26 with support to build positive, bright futures is the aim of the project.
With seven sites across Wellington County and Guelph, the goal is” to build a more effective health and social service system, through integration and collaboration, to better meet the needs of youth,” states a press release announcing the opening.
Featuring a “one door,” approach, the sites are networked together so youth only need to tell their story once to access more than 30 programs and services that provide guidance and support.
From education and career support, to counselling and peer-to-peer programs, the facilities offer “help and encouragement to every youth in the community,” the release states.
“This is an important day for our community as we recognize the need for a hub to address the pressing issues our youth are facing,” said Minto Mayor George Bridge.
“With the impact the pandemic has had on our community, our children and youth deserve access to the resources they need all in one place. We are very pleased to open a space where the goal of better supporting our children and youth is our main priority.”
Bridge noted Minto, Mapleton, Wellington County and the Ontario government all contributed to the project, as well as a number of private and corporate donors.
“One thing COVID has taught us is if we all work together as governments it makes things happen,” said Bridge.
“We are honoured to be a part of a project that will truly help the youth in our communities,” said Mapleton Mayor Gregg Davidson.
“To make The Grove – Palmerston a reality, it was important to collaborate and come together as a community in support of our youth. For our community to thrive, our children need access to resources that will aid in their development and support them through the tough times.”
Cyndy Moffat Forsyth, The Grove director, said, “We look forward to our future in Palmerston as The Grove – Palmerston works to give our all to the youth in need of support.
“Through shared resources, networks and support services, we can provide a safe space where all youth will feel seen and heard.”
Melanie Therrien, youth wellness coordinator for The Grove – Palmerston said, “The opening of the three Grove locations will and already has had tremendous impact for our youth in the community. These hubs are going to provide youth with the support they need when they need it.
“Youth need a space that makes them feel heard, included, and valued and that’s what these hubs aim to provide.”
The Palmerston facility is the third Grove Hub to open in Wellington County. Hubs re already operating in Fergus and Erin.
Four more Hubs, all in Guelph, are set to open over the next three years.
The Grove – Palmerston features a large games room, spaces for counselling, meeting and study areas as well as a music room, kitchenette and lunch tables.
Raynard thanked everyone who attended meetings and pushed forward The Grove concept in support of local youth.
“On behalf of the Minto Youth Action Council, I want to thank you for prioritizing local youth,” she stated.
“For prioritizing wellness. The Grove – Palmerston will be a life-changing resource to have in our community and I look forward to utilizing the Hub in the days to come.”