Feds cut funding, cite concerns with Digby's old family resource centre

Jonathan Riley, Digby Courier jriley@digbycourier.ca
Published on June 9, 2014

Supporters of the old Digby County Resource Centre gathered on Birch Street in Digby on Saturday, June 7 just up the street from the new family resource centre.

Tracey McGarvey

The federal and provincial governments have set up a new family resource centre in Digby after losing faith in the old centre.

What exactly happened they aren’t saying.

A senior media relations officer told the Courier last week that the Public Health Agency of Canada had “ongoing governance and management concerns" with the Digby County Family Resource Centre (DCFRC).

A spokesperson with the provincial department of Community Services said they were following the federal governments’ lead.

“After the federal government conducted its review of the former service provider, it decided not to renew funding,” she said. “Community Services, as the secondary funder, did participate in this review.”

The province had provided $72,000 in funding to the DCFRC and announced an additional $75,000 on April 23 which will now go to the Better Together Family Resource Centre along with the federal funding.

The amount of federal funding was not immediately available.

“The province is committed to working with the federal government and the people in the Digby region to bring more accountability, transparency and quality services to the families and children in their community,” said the provincial spokesperson.

She said the new centre “is currently providing interim support to Digby while the community works to decide what the future Digby-designed and Digby-led FRC will look like.”

The new centre is set up at 1 Birch Street and has hired two former employees of the DCFRC as well as two summer students from Digby.

Parents and children who use the services of the old family resource centre and other supporters protested on Birch Street on Saturday, June 7.

The group of 25 people waved signs that read “We support you, Digby County Family Resource Centre” and “We will not let you close our centre”.

Ashley Comeau brought her three children to the rally because she says she relies on the services of the DCFRC.

“Just the support and conversations with other mothers is very important to me,” she said. “They offer great programs, our baby group, school readiness, pre-natal. I’m a single mother of three and this support is important.”

Darlene Lawrence, executive director of the DCFRC says neither the federal government nor the provincial government have told her why the funding was not renewed this spring.

Lawrence and two other staff members have been volunteering since March and continue to offer services such as the baby group and school readiness program.

Comeau says she will be bringing her children back to Birch Street this coming Saturday, June 14 at noon for another protest.