New community hub promotes easier access to child services in Trail

Core children services will join forces under one roof

A new collaboration between organizations invested in early childhood development will make it easier for parents to access free programming in Greater Trail.

The Trail Health and Environment Committee has teamed up with Success by Six, the Trail Family and Individual Resource Centre, School District 20, local healthcare providers, social service agencies and various childcare providers to create a neighbourhood hub of core services.

The group is in the midst of creating a terms of reference before it begins to look for a prime downtown location it could operate a one-stop shop of resources. A $20,000 contribution from Teck will help cover start up fees needed to get service providers working together under one roof, all without taking away from individual satellite facilities.

“There is such strong energy and passion with this committee and we didn’t want that focus to be lost if there wasn’t funding available to move forward with initiatives,” said Carol Vanelli Worosz, Trail Operations communications manager.

The conversation started back in 2010 when the Trail Health and Environment Program – delivered by Teck, Interior Health and the B.C. Ministry of Environment – was shocked to learn that 85 per cent of over 200 people who participated in a consultation process knew little or nothing about the work that started 20 years ago.

The community program promotes blood-lead level testing for Trail toddlers and offers other support services like soil testing and replacement and renovation support for older homes in hopes of reducing or eliminating the hazardous source.

To connect young families to this program, Success by Six, which builds and enhances community through engaging citizens in early childhood development, jumped on board to help keep parents in the know.

The relationship grew further last May during a two-day event called Family Action Days, when the needs of families with children under the age of six were discussed and reviewed.

“It came back loud and clear that families were still confused about the system and not sure where to get services so they wanted a nice comfortable space where organizations could be housed under one roof,” explained Sonia Tavares, West Kootenay early years coordinator for Success by Six.

“Where they could see a public health nurse and get some immunization but also attend a public play group in a space that was accessible in the sense that it was still free but also accessible by transportation.”

The Trail Health and Environment Committee’s programs are already run out of a downtown office but it’s thought that parents will be keener to stop in and learn more about its initiatives if other services draw them in.

The group will meet next on Jan. 30 to discuss its course of action.