New Stratford centre will give addicted young people place to meet after treatment

Community-based space will provide 'safe environment' for youths to integrate back into society

Emma Childs comment@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on March 13, 2014

The Reach Centre, currently under construction and due to open later this year, will offer a space for youths who have overcome addictions to transition back into normal life.

©Guardian photo by Emma Childs

STRATFORD — A new centre is being built in Stratford to provide a post-treatment facility for youths who are overcoming addictions.

The Reach Centre is being established by the Reach Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by Janice Coady, Verna Ryan and Cheryl Roche.

Although the province has an addictions treatment facility at Mount Herbert, Coady says this will be a community-based space intended to provide a “safe environment” for youths to integrate back into society.

“Coming from treatment and transitioning back into a normal life is quite difficult,” said Coady in an interview from her office.

Two of the three founders dealt with youth addictions in their own families.

“We didn’t know that our own children were struggling with addiction,” said Roche.

It was through their personal experiences that Roche and Coady noticed “gaps” in the health care system.

“Coming out of treatment, there’s really nothing for (the youths).”

Dr. Rhonda Matters, the province’s chief mental health and addictions officer, said the health department has provided the Reach Foundation with a grant to work towards establishing a fiscally sustainable service.

“The issue of mental health and addiction services is something that the government alone (won’t) be able to meet every need,” said Matters.

She said there is a need for a continuum of services by both the government and community groups.

The Reach Centre will offer the amenities of a home, with additional spaces for recreational activities, social events and career resources for youths and their families.

“Given their focus, it makes sense that it is (established) within the community,” said Matters.

Matters also said the government has taken action along the same vein by establishing an aftercare facility at Mount Herbert for patients transitioning back into society, but said that these services must be put in effect before the province can determine if they meet the demand.

The Reach Centre is being constructed in a warehouse off Mason Road in Stratford. It has been under renovation for five weeks, with a handful of recovering youths volunteering their time to build the centre.

The Reach Foundation is also seeking support from the community. A fundraiser called “Art for Addictions” will take place on April 5 at 7 p.m. in the Memorial Hall of the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown with all proceeds going towards the construction of the Reach Centre.

Tickets for the fundraiser are available at all Murphy’s pharmacies across the Island.