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New addiction recovery centre set to open in downtown Parksville

Grand opening scheduled for June 2
The Forward House Community Society is opening a new centre that focuses on addiction services. (PQB file photo)

A new addiction recovery centre will open in downtown Parksville this summer.

The Forward Recovery Centre is being established by the Forward House Community Society, which has been in Parksville Qualicum Beach since 1982, providing mental health services and addiction services in the region.

It will be located on 129 Alberni Highway and a grand opening ceremony is set for June 2, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Executive director Sharon Welch appeared as a delegation at the Regional District of Nanaimo board on April to announce the new centre that aims to supplement the society’s services that include more than 25 programs being provided to clients every week.

In the last 18 months, Welch said they’ve helped more than 35 people and had an 80 per cent success rate with their recovery goals. She expects the number to go up once the centre is open as it will mainly focus on addiction services.

“We’re really building on what we’ve been doing so far for many years,” said Welch, who added they realized the need to have more places to do their work.

READ MORE: Forward House opens Qualicum Beach location

Through one of their experienced nurses, Sareh Tracey, Welch said they have provided one-on-one recovery coaching, support groups, health care navigation and a lending library. They’re all provided free of charge and are confidential.

Welch said statistics have shown one in five Canadians experience addiction and with COVID and the opioid crisis, the number is expected to increase. Over the years, Welch said they have learned that addiction equals isolation and recovery is linked through connection.

“Each individual that comes to us goes through their own personal journeys,” said Welch. “It’s up and down, it’s sideways, it’s backwards, it’s forward but we walk alongside community members in those individual journeys. We help them to obtain, sustain and maintain their recovery goals.”

Welch said they were told the centre is the first of its kind in Canada.

“This is because it’s going to be run by people with lived recovery experience,” Welch explained. “So they’ve been there, done that and nowhere to go. They have free services so people don’t have to worry about barriers because they can’t afford the services.”

Welch noted the special thing about this program is the mulitiple pathways they offer to recovery.

“Whatever it is, we’re helping people to figure out what works best for them,” said Welch.

The society is funded main through Island Health, which provides 45 per cent of its finances, and the rest comes from grants and donations from different groups like Rotary and the United Way.

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Michael Briones

About the Author: Michael Briones

I rejoined the PQB News team in April 2017 from the Comox Valley Echo, having previously covered sports for The NEWS in 1997.
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