United Way funds youth centre

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Clearview Youth Centre is getting a financial boost from United Way Simcoe Muskoka.

The agency has agreed to fund the youth centre to the tune of $38,250 over two years, with the possibility of a third year of funding.

United Way Simcoe Muskoka CEO Dale Biddell was before council Monday to address the finalization of the funding, which has been in negotiation for almost two years, since the initial talks about starting the youth centre in Stayner began. She said the youth centre is a very valuable resource for Clearview Township.

Biddell said the funds are not from the United Way’s traditional community fund, but comes from other funding sources, including private donors.

The project meets the intention of a UWSM special initiative,” states a business case prepared for the United Way Simcoe Muskoka finance and audit committee. “It seeks to meet an identified need through a project that will provide solutions and it has multiple funders and supporters that will allow UWSM’s contribution to be leveraged to greater impact. These projects have the capacity to interest individual donors who want to give locally and see an impact. Donations to the Centre will flow through UWSM and be allocated to the project – essentially a donor designation that is already a common practice in workplace campaigns. Where a project has particularly strong appeal it may have the capacity to generate substantial gifts.”

The money is to help cover the youth centre’s operating expenses.

Shortly after approving the funding agreement, council considered spending $18,000 on wages to extend the youth centre coordinator position until the end of the year and to increase the hours, going from 30 to 40 hours per week.

Councillor Deborah Bronée opposed the funding agreement and the contract extension, keeping with her position that the youth centre is outside the mandate of the municipality.

She and fellow councillor Doug Measures reiterated concerns about the employment status of the youth coordinator because the employee reports to the committee and is not considered a municipal employee.

Mayor Christopher Vanderkruys asked for better reporting from the youth centre. Councillor Robert Walker, who sits on the youth centre committee, said comprehensive reporting, which goes beyond basic attendance, is not a problem and will be forthcoming.

Michael Fish has been hired as the coordinator. Until last month, when an employment contract was signed, Fish filled the role as a volunteer. Fish graduated from a social service worker program and has volunteered with a number of youth programs in the area. He has also been a vocal advocate for youth mental health resources.

Also new to the youth centre, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Georgian Triangle has joined the list of outside agencies offering programs.

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