Leaving behind a decrepit building in Brentwood Bay, the Victoria Boys and Girls Club now has a brand new facility in the Central Saanich Cultural Centre, and the move was long overdue.
“It just wasn’t cost effective to pour money into a building that was literally falling apart,” said Kate Mansell, director of development and communications.
The building was well “past its prime,” she added.
Plans to move began more than two years ago, after extensive damage and rot was discovered in the old building, said Mansell.
The new facility boasts a more open and inclusive design, substantially larger windows and an overall “homier feel,” according to Talia Ingram, a supervisor at the club for the last five years.
“We really try to give the kids ownership and make it like their home, and this is just so much better for them,” she said.
“Because it’s purpose-built and it’s laid out better, it’s just going to be much better overall for programming needs,” added Mansell. “We’ll be able to offer specific programming to help kids stay in school and go on to university.”
The club will continue to offer all their regular programming in the new facility, she said, including after school care, support for parents and programs for at-risk youth.
Starting out of the new facility, the club will also offer the Rogers Raising the Grade program, offering youth the chance to receive help with homework on a daily basis, meet new people and explore options for their future.
Though the District of Central Saanich provided the property at the nominal fee of $1 per year for 25 years, the club still had to raise the funds to actually build the facility. The project ended up coming in at around $300,000, said Mansell, with a third of that in donated time and materials from local businesses and contractors. The Club, overall, has received a tremendous amount of support.
“I want to make specific mention of Mark and Danielle Marley of Mahoe Properties,” she added. “They were the backbone of our fundraising group.”
To celebrate the accomplishment, a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony will be held Saturday, Jan. 24 “to recognize all those businesses and foundations and individuals who contributed to making this a dream come true for us,” said Mansell.
“It’s been a long journey but it’s been worth it.”
The ceremony runs from 2 to 4 p.m. For more information on the club or to request an invitation to the event, call 250-384-9133 ext. 115.