Kamloops Big Brothers Big Sisters to cease operations, Okanagan branch will take over

The Kamloops and region Big Brothers Big Sisters branch will close at the end of December, but the Okanagan branch will maintain a presence in Kamloops in 2018.

Charitable organization will continue to have presence in Kamloops

Big Brothers Big Sisters Kamloops and Region offers mentorship programs for youth. (Big Brothers Big Sisters Kamloops and Region)

The Big Brothers Big Sisters branch in Kamloops will close at the end of December 2017, and the Okanagan branch will take over in the new year, in an effort to minimize costs.

"It will be a fresh start," said Gerald Watson, vice president of the board of directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kamloops and region. "It's definitely not going to be the same."

Watson said the branch has had trouble maintaining stable funding. That, coupled with high administrative costs, has made it difficult to keep the enterprise profitable. According to Watson, small agencies, like the Kamloops branch, across the country have experienced similar struggles.

Staff at Big Brothers Big Sisters Kamloops and region have received layoff notices

Watson said the organization was at risk of folding altogether, but combining operations with the Okanagan division means there will still be a Big Brothers Big Sisters presence in Kamloops. 

Board members from the Kamloops and region branch are expected to join the board of the new entity.

Staff at Big Brothers Big Sisters Kamloops and Region have been given layoff notices. (Big Brothers Big Sisters Kamloops and Region)

"On one level it's very sad," Watson said. "On the other hand, I'm pleased there's a way this is going to work out; that there is going to be a presence in Kamloops."

With files from Jenifer Norwell