Wellesley council has to decide how they’re going to support community organizations after Woolwich Counselling Centre, the Wilmot Family Resource Centre and Woolwich Community Services came with grant requests on Tuesday night.
All three provide services to residents of Wellesley Township, despite their names not having Wellesley in the titles.
Mary Wilhelm, Woolwich Counselling Centre executive director, requested a $3,000 grant for the centre this year.
“[Grants from Wellesley Township] have been pretty consistent with $4,000 received in 2012, in 2013 we received $3,000, in 2014 and 2015 we received $3,000,” Wilhelm said.
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They have a child therapist in Linwood Public School for half a day once a week and one in Wellesley Public School for a full day once a week. They’ve looked into St. Clement Catholic School but aren’t in there yet.
“Service in the township has gone up since 2012, 22 per cent. To date we’ve already surpassed service in 2016,” Wilhelm said.
Woolwich Community Health Centre has offered up space to the centre. They will be using it for adult counselling. They plan to expand their services in Wellesley in 2017.
They use a standardized questionnaire for pre- and post-therapy. They surveyed 147 clients in 2014 and 100 per cent showed improvement.
“Right now counselling agencies are really under the gun to show some clinical effectiveness and outcomes. We can’t just say well it makes people feel better. We actually have to prove it,” Wilhelm said.
Mental health is the leading cause of disability in Canada.
The centre receives an annual grant from the Region of Waterloo, which was $12,000 this year. Aside from a slight cost of living increase, the grant hasn’t increased in 20 years she estimates. Wilhelm says this is the lowest of any of the counselling centres in the region. The region also specifies the funds have to be used for clients who are on Ontario Works or disability.
The Wilmot Family Resource Centre and Woolwich Community Services asked for $5,000 each from Wellesley Township.
Trisha Robinson, Wilmot Family Resource Centre executive director, and Don Harloff, Woolwich Community Services executive director presented together because they provide similar services but to different locations in the township.
Here’s just a glimpse into what they provided from 2015-2016 for Wellesley residents: Christmas hampers for 193 people, support for 390 Low German family members, food hampers to 180 people and backpacks with school supplies for 86 students.
“Because we have such multi layers of support under one roof, it really simplifies the tasks of getting needs met for people,” Harloff said.
They received $98,956 from the region last year combined.
“$50,000 of that is through the Outreach Program, so that will change Jan. 1,” Robinson said.
The program supports outreach workers and the region is changing its funding model.
Harloff noted both organizations provide a range of services to the township at the same time that their costs continue to increase.
“For many years the township has provided us with $1,000 every year for each. We come here together because we really do believe that we provide for all of Wellesley Township,” Harloff said.
He said probably a decade ago they received about 60 per cent of their funding from some form of government. Now it’s down to about 40 per cent and nearly 50 per cent of their operating dollars come from fundraising and donations.
“We are very blessed that a large portion of our funding, the largest portion actually comes through fundraising and donations. I certainly believe that it’s indicative of the respect the local community has of the work that we do,” Harloff said.
Council will now deliberate how much to give each of the groups and a report is expected at the next council meeting.