Wellness and Emotional Support for Youth Online is taking ownership of the building it has called home for the past five years.
It was announced last week that WES for Youth is purchasing the former Walkerton Public Utilities building it has been leasing from the Municipality of Brockton.
“We have always wanted to purchase the building. That has always been our intent,” WES for Youth executive director Jennifer Mulcaster said Tuesday. “It will allow us now to apply for some capital funding so we can finish off a few things that need to be done in the building.”
Mulcaster said among the projects they hope to embark on are making the building at 4 Park St. more accessible as well as upgrading their community resource room to make it more available for the community to use.
“It is an excellent location. It gives us some parking space if we need it,” said Mulcaster. “It gives us the opportunity to host some training and move forward with some more community-style events and groups.”
WES for Youth, which was founded in 2012 by Jamie and Yolanda Cameron after they lost their son Wes to suicide, is an online counselling service that allows youth to connect with a professional and qualified counsellor. When it started out the organization was servicing Grey-Bruce and surrounding areas, but it has since expanded to service youth across Ontario.
Mulcaster said their largest presence is in southwestern Ontario, but it has been growing recently in Northern Ontario.
They have helped more than 1,350 youth since they went live in June 2013.
WES for Youth moved into the building in May 2014. They received an Aviva Community Fund grant that has allowed them to do renovations to the building each year as they grew.
“It allowed us to do those last little bits of renovations that needed to be done, but now we can move forward with those larger capital grants,” Mulcaster said. “We are planning to apply now that it is official.”
Last year the organization ran its first fundraiser, the Fill the Smile campaign, which raised some funds to move forward with the purchase. The municipality has agreed to sell the building to the organization for $75,000.
Mulcaster said Brockton town council under both former Mayor Dave Inglis and current Mayor Chris Peabody have been huge supporters of their organization.
“Both of the town councils have been fantastic,” she said.