Province announces new youth centre in Fort St. John

Representatives from the Fort St. John Friendship Society, Foundry BC, the city and province at an announcement of a new youth centre on June 14

After over two years of work, the Fort St. John Friendship Society welcomed an announcement of a new Foundry Centre for youth.

 “Foundry is coming to Fort St. John,” said Friendship Society executive director Anita Lee who paused hold back a tear.

The facility will offer mental-health and substance-use supports for 12 to 24 year olds. The Minister of Mental Health and Addictions was in the ‘Energetic City’ to announce new location.

Sheila Malcolmson said “It’ll be up to the community to help decide where there is available space that’s convenient to young people."

The society and city are working to find perfect place for the centre.

But amid widespread healthcare staffing shortages who will provide the supports remains unknown

Malcolmson said the entire province is grappling with the shortage.

“There weren’t enough trained under the previous government. We’re trying to overcome that and at the same time people who are on the front lines are tired.”

However, the minister praised other Foundry Centres for their use of peer workers. She said young people are often trusted more by those going through similar experiences. ‘

Whatever the centre looks like, the Friendship Society was overwhelmed by the announcement of the centre they’ll operate.

“Foundry is a significant investment in our community and in the lives of our young people and families who will receive the supports they deserve.”

Under current plans, the province says the Fort St. John branch will be one of 23 Foundry Centres across B.C.  

No timeline has been set for a physical space, but Foundry services are currently available for youth online or by phone at 1-833-308-6379.