Enderby officials are under pressure to ensure the viability of critical social programs.
The Enderby and District Community Resource Centre has met twice in the past week with city council members and staff.
“We want them to be aware of the issues and the need to work together,” said Sue Rossi, EDCRC executive director.
“If you don’t use social services yourself, it’s a mystery.”
But for many Enderby area residents, challenges are something they face on a daily basis.
Studies indicate that 49 per cent of kindergarten children in the community are vulnerable in one or more areas of development (the provincial average is 30 per cent).
Statistics from 2011 show that Enderby ranks 22 out of 92 health areas in order of worst-off to best-off in terms of the socio-economic index.
Teenage pregnancy also continues to be high.
Rossi says the areas of greatest focus are poverty, food shortages, keeping families together and building a health community.
“We have some real social issues here and the centre is being inundated with needs we can’t address,” she said.
“As a community we have to look at how we can deal with these issues from within.”
Among the programs offered by EDCRC are Healthy Eating for Life, Mother Goose, Sunshine Seniors Call Line, community kitchens, food skills for families and seniors, emergency bus tickets, emergency good vouchers, resource information, early childhood development and Healthiest Babies Possible.
Ideally, Rossi would like to see EDCRC operations expand from two to five days a week.
“We’re not expecting the city to provide that funding but if the city supports our vision, that will go along way,” she said of raising the centre’s profile locally or lobbying senior government for assistance.
Rossi is pleased with the response she has been receiving from city council and staff.
“They are open to continuing to meet and talk,” she said.