Our Community: Anonymous donation helps Nigel House

Thanks to an anonymous $1-million matching donation, the Broadmead Care Society last week announced the New Home for Nigel House Campaign, with a $3-million goal to help build a new home for adults with disabilities on Vancouver Island.

The current home was built in the 1970s and is beyond its useful life. The total cost of the new Nigel House is estimated at $40 million, of which $3 million must be raised through the campaign.

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Located on Vernon Avenue across from the Saanich Plaza, the new home will be part of the Nigel Valley Neighbourhood Plan, offering housing and care and activity with the wider community.

The new Nigel House will cater to residents between the ages of 19 and 55. It will feature single rooms, a rooftop garden, accessible rooms and hallways and at-grade pathways and crosswalks to enable people to access nearby shopping and parks.

“The New Home for Nigel House campaign will fill an important need for younger adults with disabilities in our community,” said voluntary co-chairs and former Saanich mayors Murray Coell and Frank Leonard in a statement.

“The new home will increase the number of beds from 26 to 41, plus will include 37 assisted-living units for seniors and 10 affordable-housing units. We thank the anonymous donor who has stepped up with a $1-million matching gift challenge to the community and we thank the volunteers who are helping to raise the needed funds.”

To donate to the campaign or learn more, visit broadmeadcare.com.

Therapeutic recovery centre gets therapy

Our Place unveiled Saturday the results of two major transformative projects at its new Therapeutic Recovery Community on Talcott Road.

The projects were undertaken with the help from a crew of 500 volunteers from HeroWork and contributions from 120 businesses.

The facility was once a youth custody centre. The renovation doubled the size of the dining room space, added an arts and crafts room, created an outside food-production area and erected a longhouse-style pavilion at the facility entry.

The renovation also included work to the main living quarters, including eight living areas and 24 sleeping suites that will house up to 48 men.

“It truly is incredible what HeroWork has done to transform the interiors of the former youth custody centre,” said Don Evans, CEO of Our Place. “The generosity of the volunteers and skillset of the trade professionals has been amazing to watch. And the new garden that has come about because of a local philanthropist will be such a place of healing and transformation for the residents.”

The facility will welcome men who have suffered significant trauma and addiction and have struggled to put their lives back together after periods of incarceration and homelessness.

A large donation has also allowed for the creation of a Healing Garden, turning what was once an institutional, concrete compound into a green and serene oasis.

“It takes a community to rebuild a community, and we’ve seen just that,” said Tracie Clayton, executive director of HeroWork Victoria. “It’s been a privilege to be part of mobilizing our community of volunteers and businesses for such an inspiring project.”

Our Place is an inner-city community centre serving Greater Victoria’s most vulnerable. HeroWork is a charity that renovates other charities.

For more information, go to ourplacesociety.com or herowork.com.

Storytellers seek charity to support

The Victoria Storytellers’ Guild is looking for a local charity to support on Canadian Storytelling Day, Nov. 2.

On that day, storytelling groups across Canada will tell stories on a topic chosen by the group and endorsed by the Storytellers of Canada — Conteurs du Canada.

This year, the theme is A Breath of Fresh Air.

To that end, the guild is looking for a local charity or group that fits with that theme — one that advocates and supports people struggling with ailments related to breathing, such as COPD.

For more information, contact Lee Porteous, president of the Victoria Storytellers’ Guild at leeporteous@shaw.ca.

Masonic lodge hands out youth scholarships

Four Central Saanich secondary school students were recently presented with scholarships by the United Peninsula Masonic Lodge No. 24.

The successful applicants were judged on academics as well as participation and leadership in his or her school community and/or the local community at large.

The scholarships, valued at $1,500 each, were awarded to Desiree Young and Olivia Skillings of Parklands Secondary and Carlos Quintero and Olina Newton of Stelly’s Secondary.

All these students demonstrated leadership in academics, athletics and community engagement while attending school and, in many cases, working part time.

The recipients this year belong to a group of young people driven to accomplish their goals, while at the same time doing their part to make their community and the world a better place.

Two of the recipients for scholarships this year will be attending the University of Victoria; one is planning to attend Camosun College while the fourth student will be attending the University of Alberta Campus St. Jean.

The United Peninsula Masonic Lodge on the Saanich Peninsula has been awarding post-secondary scholarships for more than 25 years.

For more information, contact secretary@unitedpeninsula.ca.

Cyclists tour Island to beat MS

Make sure you remember to wave at some of the 300 cyclists and supporters from across B.C. on Vancouver Island this weekend participating in the MS Bike — Cowichan Valley Experience.

Participants will be taking a scenic tour through the Cowichan Valley, with stops at notable viewpoints and local wineries along the ride.

One of the riders will be MS Ambassador Heather Armstrong, taking part in her 12th MS Bike event, to help enhance the quality of life for people living with MS.

“My eight years of volunteer service with the MS Society is what I feel is particularly close to my heart,” said Armstrong, a long-time volunteer for the MS Society of Canada B.C. and Yukon Division. “I have MS and my mother had MS; she passed away this past September.”

Armstrong has been involved with the society as a volunteer in different initiatives, but the work she has done to help people living with multiple sclerosis is what resonates with her the most.

MS Bike is the largest fundraising cycling series in North America. It offers cyclists of all ages and abilities the opportunity to join in rides through scenic and often spectacular parts of the country.

More than 9,000 cyclists are expected to participate in the 20 one- and two-day tours taking place across Canada between June and September.

Funds raised from the MS Bike ride will support research, treatment and cure of MS while also providing valuable services, programs and advocacy for those affected by the disease.

For more information, go to msbike.ca or mssociety.ca.

Peninsula Co-op offers cancer donation

Give today and double your impact on cancer care. Peninsula Co-op has agreed to match all donations up to $75,000 to support the B.C. Cancer Foundation’s Innovative Therapies program at B.C. Cancer — Victoria.

The co-op has taken the role of lead donor to support new innovative therapy research that is helping to save lives.

Their hope is that their commitment to donate up to $75,000 will encourage more donations from the community.

The fundraising goal is $150,000, with half already promised from the co-op.

Matching gifts are proven to be effective in inspiring others to give. This past November, the foundation piloted a one-day, digitally focused matching gift campaign of $25,000 from Peninsula Co-op.

It resulted in more than $40,000 in donations.

Victoria is home to one of six regional care centres operated by B.C. Cancer. The facility provides care and support for people with cancer. The facility is also an active research clinic, with clinical trials undertaken as an important aspect of the centre’s clinical care.

The Innovative Therapies program at B.C. Cancer — Victoria campaign started on Saturday and runs until July 31. Double your donation’s impact at bccancerfoundation.com/match.

Coffee beans brew up a lift for Mustard Seed

You can help those who are in need while enjoying your coffee by purchasing beans from the Mustard Seed Coffee Company.

The coffee brand began as a social enterprise of the Mustard Seed Street Church in 2017, with a goal of operating to support their various programs and services.

Profits from the venture go toward the provision of essential services to those in need.

Roasted and provided in partnership with Oughtred Coffee and Tea, Mustard Seed Coffee is available in medium or dark roast — each with its own distinct origin and flavour profile.

Aligning with the coffee company’s current values in social and environmental sustainability, all roasts are certified carbon neutral and direct trade.

One-pound bags are $14, two bags $25 and a case of 10 is $110. Five-pound wholesale bags are also available for purchase.

The coffee can currently be purchased in one-pound bags at local Thrifty Foods and Save-On locations, at the Moss Street and Oaklands markets (Saturdays and Wednesdays, respectively) and online at coffee@mustardseed.

For more information, go to mustardseed.ca.

Seats still open for cycling tour

Space in the Victoria Grandmothers for Africa cycling tours (Sept. 6 to 8) are almost all filled. If you have not yet registered for your tour of choice — there is a 50- and a 275-kilometre route — you need to act fast before they are full.

The non-profit group organizes two fundraising cycle tours each September. Both tours are fundraisers for the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s Grandmothers to Grandmothers campaign.

Cycling is an especially symbolic fundraiser because it is a common mode of transportation in Africa. You might have seen the groups as they train around Greater Victoria.

Training rides for the 275-kilometre tour take place on Mondays. Between 18 and 20 riders have been out each week since spring, now riding up to 70 km.

Riders are noticing that their training is paying off and getting up the hills is not as hard as it was in the beginning.

The training rides for the 50-km tour take place on Fridays.

In addition to the tour, seven Island grandmother groups along the 275-km route will help and support the tour by providing meals, snacks and enthusiastic cheers.

They include Campbell River, Merville, Glacier (Courtenay Comox), GLAD (Denman Island), Oceanside (Parksville), Nan Go (Nanaimo) and St. Andrew’s (Sidney) group.

Their support, in turn, energizes the cyclists to keep on pedalling and ultimately achieve their goals.

A Sunday lunch for the two groups of riders is courtesy of the Sidney grandmother group.

Contact Kay Mulholland at kaymulholland3@gmail.com to get a registration package or information on the 275-km tour. Shelly Christie co-ordinates the group’s training rides and can be contacted at shelly.christie@gmail.com.

Contact Lynn Kobierski at lkobierski@gmail.com for the 50-km group.

For more information, go to victoriagrandmothersforafrica.ca/cycle-tours.

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