Financial problems to close non-profit counselling society

The Shore Counselling Society could be closing its doors to the community by the end of summer.

The non-profit agency, which has provided subsidised counselling to countless Nanaimo residents, has run out of money due to funding cuts.

“Last year, the city gave us a one-time only grant to help us until we got more funds from the provincial government,” said office manager Tona Thickett. “But the need keeps on going up and our revenues have gone down.”

Core funding for things such as facility rentals, staff and advertising is hard to come by, she added.

The society put in additional applications for government funding and sought a new contract with VIHA to help alleviate the pressure, but the money will not come through in time.

“The next few months are critical,” said Richard Bray, society president. “We’re hoping for $5,000 to $10,000 to keep us afloat.”

The society is accepting donations and will be hosting a fundraiser at the Harewood Arms Pub in October.

For 11 years, the agency has helped thousands of individuals, couples, families and group members by offering professional therapy to those who could otherwise not afford it.

There is currently a wait-list for subsidized counselling.

The two counsellors available have specialized in relationship therapy, problem gambling, counselling, mediation and anger management for men, women and children.

On an average busy day, the centre can see up to 10 patients.

Bray said the biggest impact will be in the Harewood area, where the office is located.

“It’s heartbreaking for us,” he said. “The people most in need are going to suffer.”

Bray has been on the society’s board for three years and says he will feel a deep loss if the doors close.

“I’m going to miss it because it’s part of my contribution to Nanaimo and it’s been a heartfelt contribution,” he said.

To inquire about making a donation (charitable reciepts available), please call 250-716-8888.

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