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Community Inclusions IN O'Leary undergoes operation evaluations

["The Maple House Bakery and Café on Ellis St. in O'Leary."]
Maple House Bakery and Café in O’Leary. - File

DEBLOIS, P.E.I. - Despite calling it a success story that continues to grow, the board of directors of Community Inclusions has commissioned a financial evaluation of its Maple House Bakery and Café in O’Leary.

Community Inclusions co-chairs, Heidi Mallett and Maurice Poirier, said at the organization’s annual meeting that the board has been wanting the evaluation ever since the bakery moved into the former O’Leary liquor store building two years ago.

With support from West Prince Ventures, Community Inclusions was able to secure financial assistance for the study from the Community Capacity Fund and Entrepreneurial Fund.

The study, which could take up to six months to complete, is expected to provide the board with information to help serve the public better.

The annual financial statement shows that the bakery and café exceeded revenue projections for the year by $116,000.

Ron and Connie Robichaud’s evaluation will extend to Community Inclusions’ entire operation.

The board’s co-chairs commended the Maple House staff and clients for their professionalism in operating the bakery and café.

The board also recently closed the sale on its former Maple House building, and proceeds from the sale were transferred to the provincial government as payment for the former liquor store it acquired.

Highlights of the past year included $200,000 in additional funding from the provincial government to assist with daily operations, a small increase in core finding and obtaining Easter Seals funding to assist with furnishing the former RCMP house it acquired in Tignish and ongoing financial assistance from Go!West’s Win4All lottery, Tignish Normalization Co-op Association, O’Leary Lions Club and the Homelessness Partnership Strategy.

Despite the additional government funding, the board reports Community Inclusions is still from previous cuts. It is, however, encouraged that the Department of Family and Human Services has engaged a third party to develop a long-term sustainable funding model for provincial non-governmental organizations.

Executive Director Kevin Porter commented on the success of its housing units in Alberton and O’Leary. Alberton House operated at capacity throughout the year and the O’Leary apartments had five residents for much of the year. He acknowledged there still remains from housing challenges in the region, especially for individuals requiring a greater level of care. He said the board hopes to have the former RCMP house in Tignish operational this year.

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