The search for an alternative for a North Saanich after-school program closing its doors this month remains on-going but also fruitless to date.
Kerry Readshaw, communications director for Beacon Community Services, says her organization continues to search for alternatives as the Beacon’s Nature Club offered at the Saanich Peninsula Presbyterian Church prepares to close Dec. 20. Unfortunately, the service provider has not been able to find an alternative that is accessible, affordable, and aligned with licensing requirements.
“It’s a challenge to find suitable facilities [on the Saanich Peninsula],” she said.
Last month, Beacon Community Services informed two dozen families that the program will close its doors just months after opening as a replacement for an after-school program at KELSET Elementary School. The school had closed that program to reclaim the space to meet growing demand and the letter from the Beacon Community Services suggests that the church also reclaimed its space.
“We are grateful to the congregation and [minister] of Saanich Peninsula Presbyterian Church for opening their doors and hosting Beacon’s Nature Club since September,” said Nicole Hietamaa, out-of-school care coordinator last month. “We also recognize and respect the [church] must give priority to a variety of its other core activities and it’s therefore not feasible to continue our current arrangement.”
Readshaw said Beacon Community Services had expected a longer-term arrangement with the church. “It became apparent that the arrangements were not going to work,” she said.
Readshaw said Beacon Community Service understands the situation of parents, many of whom are now looking for after-school care for the second time in months, adding she hopes that their employers and others will show some flexibility in accommodating. School board officials are also aware of the situation, she added.
It is not clear how many have found alternatives.
“I understand that some have found care, and I expect that others continue to search,” she said.
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