Brighton Independent

By: John Campbell

The Brighton Community Resource Centre, which held its official opening last week, is a one-stop location for people of all ages to make use of affordable recreation, education, employment and workplace training resources.

Community Living Campbellford/Brighton invested in the centre to deliver services not currently offered in the community, from computer courses to kids’ crafts, from Loyalist College lifelong learning classes about art, music, Spanish and etiquette, to one-day health and safety workshops.

“It’s been quite a journey,” said Community Living board president John Mood at the opening held October 29. “We’ve come a long way.”

Mood admitted he wasn’t sure at first about the site that had been chosen for the resource centre, the former home of the Brighton Independent, at 1 Young Street, which the agency purchased in 2012, but he was impressed by the “hard work” that had gone into converting the building.

Executive director Nancy Brown said the initiative aligns with Community Living’s vision for “a fully inclusive community for people with intellectual disabilities … a community that looks after each other.” The resource centre “gives us that opportunity to provide many different things for many different people, without labels attached.”

Brown said her organization “was eager to extend the success” of the Campbellford Resource Centre, established in 1989, to Brighton, using the same partnerships it has with agencies such as Career Edge and Community Futures Development Corporation.

People with intellectual disabilities are under-represented in the workforce but they and others in the community looking for work could find employment with the help of supports and services offered at the centre.

People ask why Community Living Campbellford/Brighton is doing this, Brown said. It’s about creating “opportunities for everyone” while still being “responsive to the needs of adults with intellectual disabilities and their families.”

The building, which includes a computer lab and drop-in centre, was renovated using $49,000 in federal funding and another $16,000 by the board, to give it a new look that includes an accessible entrance and washroom.

“I’m looking forward to a very long, very mutually beneficial future here,” said Carolyn Anderson, administrator of both resource centres. “If anyone knows of something they want to see available in Brighton, come see me, I’m more than willing to look into getting [more] courses going.”

Brown said response to what the resource centre has to offer has been “great” and Community Living is “really working on” expanding its hours of operation to more than two days a week.

However, its operation is tied to fees it collects for the courses it provides and grants it can muster, so expansion will be tied to increasing the number of courses it can offer.

There are free courses as well. For more information about the Brighton Community Resource Centre, call 613-439-8809, or tollfree, 1-866-528-0825, ext. 211.