Access Better Living opens new centre with new programming for adults

A vision for more services for children and adults with developmental disabilities is now a reality in the Timmins area.

Access Better Living has acquired a former church building and named it 'The ABL Centre.'

"This is awesome. I love it so much I can’t wait for it," said Noah Cogar, a client of Access Better Living.

Officials with the organization said this is where Noah can learn new skills and bond with his friends.

"Especially knowing that there is a lack of support services for our clientele, I am so thrilled to know that there is a place where our kids can come, our adults can come and socialize," said Carol MacKinnon, executive director of Access Better Living.

Kim Guillemette, a mother and chair of the Access Better Living board, said after-school programming and a brand new program for the 18- to 21-year-old age group is greatly needed.

"This is absolutely a relief," said Guillemette.

"I can’t use any other word. To know that my children are going to come to a place where their friends are present, that they’re going to be safe, there are workers that are going to meet their every need -- there’s just no words to describe that."

The space features various stations including music, art, athletics, a kitchen and a place to chill.

The centre will also allow Access Better Living to create ties with the community.

"We’re going to be actively looking for community partners," said Guillemette.

"We want to be out there. We want our children to be out there learning life skills, participating in the community, contributing to the community."

MacKinnon said this is the first time the organization has established services in the city's east end and said they already feel welcomed. She said it serves around 45 clients and she will accept applications for more as she increases staff and volunteers.