Red Deer Dream Centre aims to have 23 people taking part in its addictions programming in 2023.
“So far we’ve been at it 210 days and people are getting healed. People are working through their addictions,” said board president Wes Giesbrecht before the official grand opening got underway on Friday for the 40-bed, Christian-based facility for men.
Renovations began a couple years ago to convert the former Lotus nightclub, located at 4614 50th Ave., and the centre started taking clients in early November.
Clients can stay up to 12 months to access programs designed to address the physical, emotional, and mental side of addiction, as well as offer spiritual support.
“It’s been really cool to watch the community gather and rally together to bring healing to Red Deer. It’s not the entire solution, but it’s definitely part of it,” Giesbrecht said.
He said the centre has partnerships with businesses in the community to help clients to return to the workplace, and connections with rental companies for transitional housing.
“The opposite of addiction is not sobriety, it’s connection. We want to have Red Deerians, Central Albertans, have a place for connection. This is the place.”
In 2018, a grassroots movement led by a group of local businessmen decided to try to do something with the former nightclub, and in 2020 construction was approved and $1.4 million was raised for renovations.
Fundraising efforts continue in order to fund operations.
“Our goal is to have 3,000 people at $40 a month to fund this program. That will cover our entire operating costs,” Giesbrecht said.
Scott Robinson, CEO with Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber is proud to have the Dream Centre as a member.
“We’re all in in trying to help our community end homelessness and addiction, and we’re looking forward to being more a part of the conversations in the future to ensure organizations like this have all the resources and support they need to be successful,” Robinson told the crowd who gathered for the grand opening.
“These kinds of organizations and entities that are now springing up in our community, and we have many, are going to really help us to turn our community into the leading recovery community in all of Canada.”
Mayor Ken Johnston recalled visiting the empty building before renovations began and he thanked everyone who made the project a reality.
“I know that you have given of yourselves, your money, your time, your prayers for this centre and I urge you to keep going. God bless you all and congratulations,” Johnston said.
Red Deer-South MLA Jason Stephan said even though the provincial government is focused on recovery from addiction, the dream centre is not a service born out of government, but leaders in our community.
“It’s wonderful that we have the Dream Centre here to help restore dreams and hope for our neighbours who are suffering under addictions,” Stephan said.