By Karen Bradley
The Old School Community Gathering Place in Musquodoboit Harbour has been open for almost ten years now, thanks to a combination of community will, great volunteers, and recently, funding from a number of sources: the federal government, the Province, HRM project grants, and the United Way.
“As a result of all the efforts, In the past six months over 1200 people have come through the door for programs, including healthy cooking workshops, youth programs, seniors groups, mental health resource information, bereavement, coffee houses, pub nights, concerts, fundraisers, art shows, art gallery, the community garden, a walking group, tai chi classes, and a variety of other gatherings,” said Program Director Leslie Savoy.
The diverse and vibrant offerings make a significant difference to the village and surrounding areas. But the Old School recently hit a major new obstacle: the United Way funding, which went primarily for operating support for all of the programs, ended with no new funding for the coming years.
“The Board of the Old School is strong and committed and determined to carry forward, despite the disappointing news.” Said Samantha Holmes, Board Member. The Board is asking for the help of the community, in light of all that is planned. And here is some of that: a mentorship program for seniors to work with youth, partnerships with local cultural, heritage, and healthy living institutions, more pub nights, after school and vacation youth opportunities, and a project for people living with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and their caregivers.
How can you help make sure this important facility continues to operate fully? Three ways will make a difference: First: Come to the great programs offered, take advantage of the community’s wealth of expertise and talent (and have a great time doing it!). Next: rent space from us. Our fees are low but necessary, and the coffee is available too! And if you can, make a donation to the school by e-transferring any amount (large ones are definitely appreciated but any will do!) to [email protected]. Check out the website as well -- https://www.theoldschool.ca/ -- and click on the donation button there, which takes you to our Canada Helps page.
[Karen Bradley is the chair of the board of the Old School Community Gathering Place.]