The provincial government has established 10 Youth Wellness Hubs (YWHO) in response to a great need to make services more accessible for youth. These hubs will serve as “one-stop-shops” for all youth between the ages of 12 to 25, and offer services related to mental health, addictions, primary care, education, employment, housing, recreation and other community and social services based on need. These hubs will also place a heavy emphasis on youth engagement (i.e.co-development) so that youth can take back their voice when it comes to their own health and well-being.
Recognizing the great need for primary care, mental health and addictions services for youth particularly in South Niagara, and that quality services for Indigenous and Francophone youth are especially inaccessible, a proposal was submitted to situate a YWHO site here in the Niagara region. A unique 3-site model was proposed, comprised of 3 core hub site locations: the Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre, the John Howard Society—Welland, and the Centre de santé communautaire Hamilton-Niagara in Welland. Over 65 agencies and service providers came to the table for initial conversations to discuss the proposal for Niagara’s “Hub”, and following a successful submission, much work has been done over the last year to develop the Youth Wellness Hub Niagara!
The goal for the Youth Wellness Hub Niagara (YWHN) is to reach a greater number of youth, and provide greater accessibility to services for all youth, by housing its services in 3 organizations that are already well established in the Fort Erie and Welland communities. YWHN will offer walk-in access during weekday evenings for any youth between the ages of 12 and 25, with Friday and Saturday hours to come later in 2019. YWHN will also serve as a safe space for all youth, especially, but not limited to, those who identify as Indigenous, Francophone and/or 2SLGBTQ+.
Similar to all YWHO sites, YWHN will be opening its doors in a 2-step process. A “soft launch” was scheduled for June 24, 2019, and doors to YWHN were officially opened with a schedule of core services in place for the summer. As of June 24, youth can access services in mental health (Pathstone), addictions (CASON), housing (the RAFT), education/employment, primary care (Bilingual Nurse Practitioner), and other drop in/recreation/cultural activities at 1 or more of the 3 site locations. The Core Sites continue to offer their pre-existing services, making them available to youth during Hub hours. An official “hard launch” grand opening of YWHN will take place later in 2019. Niagara is the first new YWHO site across the province to officially open its doors for soft launch!
The above is an excerpt from the July/August 2019 update from Youth Wellness Hub Niagara’s Partners Newsletter. Click here to read additional information about Niagara’s three core sites, service partners, youth navigators, family engagement, and more.
Niagara Connects is proud to support local knowledge exchange and evaluation aspects of YWHN. Please reach out to Contact Niagara if you would like to learn more.