By Anita Grace –
This fall, Somerset West Community Health Centre (SWCHC) will open a second branch at 30 Rosemount Avenue, next door to the Rosemount Public Library. The official fundraising campaign was launched on March 20.
“The Rosemount branch has been a dream of ours for several years,” says Annie Hillis, Chair of SWCHC’s Board of Directors.
SWCHC has been operating at 55 Eccles Street in Chinatown for over 40 years, offering primary health and support services to 14,000 clients. The addition of a second branch will allow it to accommodate 1,100 more patients.
Both locations will provide walk-in clinics and family doctors as well as programs like chronic disease management, prenatal and post-partum care, family and youth services, and seniors’ activities.
“I’m such a passionate believer in what they do,” says Priscilla Hudon, a SWCHC client and a member of the Board of Directors. “SWCHC, in my view, is an incredible force for good in the community.”
She praises the Centre’s holistic approach and its advocacy for vulnerable people in the community. “Everything they do, every decision they make, is done with compassion, caring, and commitment.”
The $6 million expansion project was primarily funded by Infrastructure Ontario, with additional funding from the City of Ottawa and private donations. SWCHC hopes their fundraising campaign will raise the final $500,000 needed to complete the project.
The community is already stepping up to show its support. Tony Boghossian, owner of Bell Pharmacy on Gladstone Avenue, presented a cheque for $10,000 to SWCHC at the campaign launch.
“I believe in what they are doing,” Boghossian explains. “I have seen the good things they do for their clients.”
The Rosemount branch will have clinic services on the main level, including several exam rooms, an acupuncture studio, a mental health room, and clinical staff offices. Community services on the upper level will include a large training kitchen and child-friendly spaces. Its services will be available to the growing communities of Hintonburg, Mechanicsville, Champlain Park, and Wellington West.
“We’re thrilled that this is happening,” says Jack McCarthy, SWCHC Executive Director. “This will provide service for the community for generations to come.”
SWCHC is well known for being actively engaged in its surrounding community and being responsive to the needs of vulnerable and minority populations. In addition to English and French programming, programs and services are offered in Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Arabic, Somali and Nepali.
Kitchissippi Coun. Katherine Hobbs said she is very happy to see SWCHC expand into this ward. “Their dedication is astounding,” she says.
The brick building that will house the centre is over 100 years old. It has in the past served as a synagogue, a Methodist church, a Knights of Columbus hall, and most recently a series of offices. Renovations are well underway and the centre is slated to open on September
Those interested in making a donation to SWCHC’s expansion project can visit swchc.on.ca for more information.