Community groups share ingredients for Lindsay youth hub recipe

Photo by Catherine Whitnall

This is an article published on The Peterborough Examiner and written by Catherine Whitnall. You can go to the original article here.

A recent community forum has further demonstrated not only the need for a youth wellness hub in Lindsay, but a commitment to make it a reality.


Hosted by BGC Kawarthas, CHIMO Youth and Family Services, the Canadian Mental Health Association (Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge) and the Kawartha Lakes Family Health Team, the Feb. 2 event gathered great ideas and brought more people into the discussion of implementing a one-stop- shop wellness centre.


The hub would provide opportunities for youth up to age 25 to access everything from places to charge their phones, socialize with peers and grab a bite to mental health and substance use supports.


“The current system is a maze,” said Cyndy Dearden, director of community relations and partnership development with Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario (YWHO) and one of several guest speakers for the event.


While she was impressed with what BGC Kawarthas has achieved via its Youth Warehouse — which welcomes more than 100 youth daily — she supported the organization’s efforts to build further.


Dearden noted a hub is a “more progressive model” when it comes to delivering supports and services and “helps make sense of a fragmented system.” It also helps remove many barriers for youth.


“All they have to do is walk through the door,” said Dearden.


There are currently 22 youth hubs across Ontario — including the Wellington-Guelph hub Dearden helped create back in 2018 — many of which have more than one site and the majority intentionally located in rural and underserviced areas.

Photo by William McGinn


“Tactically, we gathered some great input and were able to bring new people into the discussion, many of whom are ready and willing to support this,” said BGC Kawarthas executive director Amy Terrill.


“Our intention is not to change The Warehouse model, but rather expand further to address need and grow what has already been established.”


A proposal has been sent to the province requesting funding, primarily to support clinical services, said Terrill, who looks forward to keeping the conversation going and open doors to more opportunities to support youth.


“If we’re able to bring together the right combination of partners, then what we can do is try to determine what can we do right now? What is the smallest thing we can do to make a difference, right now?” said CMHA executive director Ellen Watkins.


“Much of it is about agencies approaching needs in different ways. We need to take the capacity we have and take it to the next level.”


BGC Kawarthas accepted a donation from Eddie Moynes who led his hockey team to raise $2500 to support youth mental health, and the work towards the future Youth Wellness Hub. Photo by William McGinn


One of the issues raised during group discussions involved better supporting young moms who not only feel uncomfortable and stigmatized by mom and parent groups, but are often disconnected from, and by, their peers.


It is hoped to dovetail an initiative with the Nurse-Family Partnership Program launched by the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit and Peterborough Public Health last fall. The free program is open to Kawartha Lakes, Haliburton and Northumberland County residents who are 24 or younger and under 29 weeks pregnant with their first child.


Other significant discussion points included addressing needs in small communities, combating the municipality’s rural challenges and transportation.


Lindsay hub supporters look forward to working with Haliburton’s Youth Wellness Hub partners, who celebrated their centre’s opening in February, 2020. BGC Kawarthas had also submitted a proposal but was not deemed as high of a priority.


“When we started, it was part of a pilot program with three staff and a building,” said Marg Cox, executive director with Point in Time, the hub’s lead proponent, noting the project has definitely gained traction with local youth.


“Space is now a major issue for us because we want to be as accessible and universal as possible.”


Like Kawartha Lakes, transportation was a major hurdle for the Haliburton group. Arrangements have been made with the Trillium Lakelands District School Board to access late buses twice a week along with community transportation programs. Terrill hopes to replicate similar efforts locally to compliment shuttle services already offered by BGC Kawarthas.


Those wishing to participate in the process or provide feedback are invited to contact Carly Veitch at