A centre for youth in the Terrace area mainly financed by the provincial government and offering a variety of supports is officially open.
Foundry’s Terrace location is rented space at 3129 Eby St., the cinder-block building owned by Terrace and District Community Services Society on the corner of Eby and Lazelle, offers free confidential mental health care, counselling, substance use supports, and other social services like employment support for youth aged 12-24.
As part of a larger network of Foundry locations in B.C., Foundry Terrace has been operating since August of last year, but was not considered officially opened until this month once official government functions could resume following last fall’s provincial election and a new cabinet minister in charge of youth mental health could be brought up to speed.
Services at Foundry are walk-in, giving youth the ability to access help right away.
“The walk-in is based on the fact that in B.C. and other provinces like Ontario there are waiting lists upon waiting lists and little access to immediate services,” said David Stam, managing director of Foundry Terrace.
The location has a nurse practitioner and sexual health nurse on hand two days a week, and is working toward having a physician on site for some hours during the week. Medical assistants are the first contact for youth, which can then refer clients to a walk-in councillor. There are also peer support workers, who are not councillors but have experiences similar to those of the youth they encounter.
The space contains a peer support room, talking rooms, a boardroom, offices, two independently equipped medical rooms, and computers with Microsoft programs and printing capability where young people can do homework.
Stam said that the space was designed through consultations with young people and shares branding with other Foundries in B.C.
“The branding is really to try to create a space that young people would see as cool, so this is our interim site but we are also looking at continuing to decorate.”
Planning and fundraising for a permanent location is underway, earmarked for the lot beside its current space. Foundry Terrace is also in the process of hiring a cultural wellness worker. That position was developed with the guidance of Indigenous community partners.
“That’s critical to the Foundry model in terms of ensuring the Indigenous young people have a safe, culturally safe place to be,” Stam said.
There are 11 foundry locations in B.C., with eight more in development. The closest open location is Prince George and one is under development in Burns Lake. Young people can also access virtual services using the Foundry BC app.
Aside from the province, the Foundry concept is supported by the Graham Boeckh Foundation, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, Providence Health Care and the St. Paul’s Foundation.