Orillia Common Roof Open House

Common Roof open house ‘impressive’ to health unit

ORILLIA – Staff and administration of the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit had a chance to rub elbows with the staff of other agencies in the Common Roof in Orillia at the facility’s open house on Thursday.

Several hundred supporters and clients of the agencies in the Common Roof packed the Front Street building to tour the facilities and learn what services are available.

“It was an impressive event, and the number of people who showed up indicates just how much interest there has been in the Common Roof in Orillia,” said Ellen Hartwick, who oversaw the health unit’s move into the new location. “It gave our staff a chance to really understand the potential of the services the Common Roof now offers. I have to tip my hat to Laurie Herd, the Common Roof coordinator, for all the work she did to put this event together.”

The health unit had three prime objectives in mind when it began searching for a new home: a good location, the ability to strengthen partnerships in the community, and a site where shared space created economies, said Medical Officer of Health Dr. Charles Gardner.

“Over the last 25 or 30 years we have been located at four other sites in the downtown. Throughout those moves, our staff has devoted itself to the city and its needs; a number of our employees have served in virtually every one of those offices,” Dr. Gardner said. “The Common Roof truly is a beautiful facility that will help us cement our relationship with the city in new ways, establish new partnerships with the other agencies in the building and provide even better service to the people of Orillia.”

Orillia Councillor Linda Murray, who sits on the board of health, said the Common Roof will have long lasting benefits for the city. “Having the health unit as one of the lead tenants will help the Common Roof reach its full potential,” she said. “I know that our families, young adults, health professionals and food services – they’re all finding the new location convenient and helpful.”

New Path Foundation board members and staff were pleased with the interest of local agency representatives, human-service providers and community members as indicated by the 200 plus people in attendance. “The Orillia Common Roof is an exceptional example of a multi-tenant non-profit centre that provides long term sustainability for vital community based human services and I am absolutely thrilled to see this successful culmination of collaborative planning by so many Orillia agencies and community citizens”, said Glen Newby, President and CEO of New Path Foundation, which developed, owns, and manages the Orillia Common Roof.

Orillia’s Common Roof facility currently has nine tenants, with the Orillia Central Preschool soon to open two classes as well. The in-house agencies of New Path Foundation and New Path Youth and Family Services, Catulpa Community Support Services, the Orillia Housing Resource Centre, Alzheimer Society of North East Simcoe County, Catholic Family Services of Simcoe County, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit and newcomer Welcome Centre Immigrant Services showcased their available resources and programs in the facility’s 2nd floor space. These displays were further enhanced by visitors, Committee Advocating for People with Special needs (CAPS) who plan to partner with New Path Foundationand expand facilities on adjacent property.

Boardrooms, Meeting rooms, waiting and resource areas as well as the kitchen on the main floor came alive with interactive program displays hosted by Catulpa’s CAPC, New Path Services for Tele-psychiatry and Observation room resources, Health Unit Clinic and Health Connection space and Endaad Native Non-Profit Homes for First Nations Traditions. Visitors from the Orillia Community Kitchen Resource Group prepared soup from Good Food Box supplies and local artists Brant Mawdsley and Shawn Ledouceur displayed their family themed art.

Plaques to commemorate Funds generated at the 2011Orillia Winter Carnival’s Polar Bear dip for shared resource areas in the Orillia Common Roof and the exquisite wall quilt by Textile Artist Marilyn Lippert in tribute to the 10 founding Orillia Common Roof agencies were installed.

Congratulations were extended by municipal, county, provincial and federal representatives.

New Path Foundation Board Chair Paul Pratt (left), Orillia Mayor Angelo Orsi and New Path Foundation President & CEO Glen Newby at the Orillia Common Roof Grand Opening

The Grand Opening was a culmination of work that began over 3-years ago. “The collaborative sharing, cooperation, and working together, evidenced by the Common Roof facility, represents a new, integrated business model for non-profit human service organizations, that will ensure their sustainability and mission fulfillment well into the future, while at the same time contributing to neighborhood revitalization and economic growth”, said Newby, “this truly is  a win-win situation all around”.

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