Drop-in centre open

A bright, cheery Drop-In Centre for people living with schizophrenia was officially unveiled to the public on Thursday.

Sharon K.

A bright, cheery Drop-In Centre for people living with schizophrenia was officially unveiled to the public on Thursday.

Renovations to update and improve the centre located at 4809B 48th Ave. started last summer, thanks to a $12,000 donation from the Rotary Club of Red Deer. Work finished in January.

“It completely transformed the space. Now it’s bright. It’s comfy. It now feels like a place where people can heal and get support and valuable programming,” said Shannon Van Parys, manager with the Red Deer chapter of the Schizophrenia Society of Alberta.

“This used to be a dark, dingy, nasty basement. We had no money for it.

“It was just a bare-bones, basic kind of space.”

Old rickety furniture was replaced. The cracked cement floor and pipes were repaired. Walls were painted.

“We do so much important programming out of this space it really wasn’t fair to the people we serve, the families we serve.”

The society has 200 members and runs self-help groups, family support groups, social events and education seminars.

Tables and a pool table occupy the main space in the Drop-In Centre and a small room is also attached to provide private consultations.

Van Parys said withdrawing is a common among people living with the disease and the centre is vital in maintaining a healthy social network.

On Thursday, Easter decorations hung on the walls and decorated the tables in preparation for an Easter potluck dinner on April 9.

Sharon K., a society member who started visiting the centre three years ago, said she comes almost every day.

“There’s always someone to talk to when you’re here. It’s just a fun place to come,” she said at a table where she was playing cards.

The Drop-In Centre is open Monday to Friday, from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For more information about the Schizophrenia Society of Alberta, call 403-597-6873.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

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