Connections Early Years Family Centre celebrates $300,000 in grant funding


The Connections Early Years Family Centre is celebrating over $300,000 in grant funding for improvements to the centre. 

The Family Centre, formally the St. Mary's Family Learning Centre, celebrated $306,200 in funding through two grants from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to support improvements to the building and to expand their outdoor programming.

In November 2022, the Centre was awarded a $150,000 Capital grant which funded masonry repairs and weather proofing to the northeast tower of the building. 

And in May 2023, they received a $156,200 Resilient Communities Fund grant to expand the Centre's outdoor play programming, and complete a new strategic plan to meet the needs of families post-pandemic. 

Barb Brown, Executive Director at Connections Early Years Family Centre, says grant funding, such as the ones the Centre received, are critical to helping the community. 

"And any new program that you would want to implement, you have to make sure that it's relevant, and it's going to support families directly. And that's what we're all about is supporting families directly with the services that they need to be able to help raise their children."

She says the Resilient Communities Fund will be stretched over two years. 

"That grant lasts up to two years that we'll be able to set our prioritizes for our program delivery, as well as provide two years of outdoor education for families with young children. They get to learn about the land, how important it is, how to care for it."

Brown says the Capital grant was important to keep the building operational.

"The Capital grant funded the masonry repairs and weather proofing of our northeast towers, and it was designed to help us maintain and improve its structural integrity. So that's certainly going to allow the building to maintain staying open and not crumbling underneath us."

The masonry repairs and weather proofing to the northeast tower of the building was completed earlier this year. 

The work to the outdoor play programming, and to complete a new strategic plan will be completed over a two year span. 

Connections Early Years Family Centre, located at 795 Giles Boulevard East, provides support, resources, and individualized services to promote the early learning and healthy development of families and their young children up to six-years-old. 

Connections also has an EarlyON Centre that offers programs that foster the well-being and engagement of parents and children.

The Ontario Trillium Foundation, an agency of the Government of Ontario, is one of Canada's leading granting foundations. Last year, OTF invested over $110-million into 1,022 community projects and partnerships.