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Groundbreaking Event

Featured image for “Groundbreaking Event”

Today, 20 children joined Children’s Cottage Society’s CEO Patty Kilgallon, Board President Dr. Janice Heard, MP George Chahal, Minister of Child Services; Rebecca Schulz MLA, Mayor Gondek and Krista Hunter, Elder from Stony Nakoda Nation in breaking ground for the new Child and Family Centre. The sun shone over the new site in Montgomery as more than 100 guests, joined with the staff and board of CCS in this momentous celebration.

As Board President Dr. Janice Heard stated, “This project has been more than 10 years in the making. The Children’s Cottage Society has watched demand for their Crisis Nursery in Bridgeland grow beyond capacity over a number of years. As an organization we could choose to ignore the issue and just concentrate on what we could do, or we could provide a solution. We chose to be the solution. Calgary has changed so much since the Children’s Cottage Society opened its original crisis nursery in 1986 with six beds. The city has tripled in size and the need for a safe place for children when their families are in crisis has more than tripled. Over the last few years we have been turning away more than 1,900 children a year from our current fourteen-bed nursery in Bridgeland. This new facility, along with our existing nursery, will enable us to provide care for the children we have been turning away.”

Having 20 children break ground was a symbolic gesture as the new centre will be able to provide emergency shelter for 20 children a night. It was quite the sight to see 20 little diggers starting the work on the ground today. Construction is estimated to take 18 months and the Cottage hopes to be opening its doors to welcome children in the fall of 2023.

CEO Patty Kilgallon, who has spearheaded this project, stressed how important it has been to garner the support of the local community, and acknowledged that the donations from local philanthropists, along with government support have made this dream a reality. “It’s been 10 years of dreaming, and the support we have received in the last year, since launching our public campaign, has been truly amazing. I still have to remind myself this is real and really happening. Seeing so many of our donors, partners and funders here today is truly special”.

The new Child and Family Centre will be a 35,000 square foot, three-storey building containing a new Crisis Nursery, a Family Resource Centre, that is currently in Bowness, along with a Child Development Centre, Volunteer rooms, administration offices and some truly special rooms they are waiting to reveal including an Elder Room for ceremony. The total cost for the building is $25.4million and to date CCS has raised $15.4 million. The Caring Together Campaign launched in June 2021, and aims to raise the remaining $9.8 million over the next eighteen months. Patty encouraged people to learn more about the campaign on their website, along with following social media to see the construction project take shape. “We are so excited to finally see this dream take shape, we want everyone to be involved in the Caring Together Campaign and help us provide support to 1,900 more children a year”.

In addition to staff and volunteers from The Children’s Cottage Society, the Board of Directors and board committees, who have helped this become a reality, joined in the celebration. Also in attendance were Minister of Advanced Education; Demetrios Nikolaides, Minister of Health; Jason Copping and MLA Joe Ceci.