Serena Anagbe / Photo Editor
The Lansdowne Children’s Centre in Brantford
Brantford city leaders announced on Jan. 12 that the Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services approved Lansdowne Children’s Centre for a new facility – a long-awaited development for the community.
With this development, enhanced services for youth with physical, communication and/or developmental disabilities are made possible, indicating a promising future in pediatric care for Brantford residents and surrounding areas.
“The property and the building cannot accommodate any more growth to support delivery of Lansdowne’s rehabilitation, respite, recreation and child development services,” said executive director Rita-Marie Hadley.
Hadley said Lansdowne Children’s Centre opened in 1998, with its main site at 39 Mount Pleasant St., out of a retrofitted former school. At the time, only 50 staff were employed, serving less than 1,000 children.
With the rise in local population, growth of staff and additions to government services, Lansdowne now has 115 staff working in this building, several service sites and serves more than triple the number of young people annually.
“By having the right kind of spaces and addressing the crowding at the current building, we can use the appropriate equipment and group service approaches that may result in children being seen earlier and reduce the long wait-lists for service,” said Hadley. “The new Lansdowne Children’s Centre purpose-built facility will provide flexible, child-friendly spaces designed to accommodate the evidence-based services for kids from birth until they leave school.”
As the demand for these services continue to surge, the Brantford community can find relief in that the new facility will aim to close on current systemic barriers.
“It will be built to meet the needs of our families and our staff,” said director of client services Jennifer Huxley. “We will have space! Space to meet the needs of programs, space for staff to work directly and indirectly with our clients, space to provide programs all in one place without having to travel to other sites or ‘borrow’ space.”
The new facility also plans to increase opportunities for Wilfrid Laurier University Brantford students, a collaboration that will benefit the community at large.
“Having appropriate space will permit us to continue to partner with post-secondary educational institutions in providing academic placements to introduce students to related careers working with kids with exceptionalities and expose emerging professionals to pediatric subspecialities,” said Hadley.
As the Lansdowne Children’s Centre enters Stage 1 of development, dates for construction or expected opening are not yet determined.
“There is no one more keen to be able to announce these dates than our crew,” said Hadley.
For now, community members can anticipate this upcoming advancement to its pediatric rehabilitation services.