Lennon Recovery House renovations continue with community support

The Lennon Recovery House in South Rustico, P.E.I., is still working towards opening its doors to help people dealing with mental health and addictions issues transition back into the community.

'It has been a real challenge for sure, but that being said, it has been great,' says association founder

The Lennon Recovery House building was donated from the Diocese of Charlottetown, which used it as the former Belcourt Centre. (Krystalle Ramlakham/CBC)

A recovery facility that will help people with mental health and addictions issues transition back into the community is still working toward opening its doors.

The former Belcourt Centre building in South Rustico, P.E.I., is being renovated and transformed into the Lennon Recovery House.

"We have been very busy," said Dianne Young, founder of the Lennon Recovery House Association. "It has been a real challenge for sure, but that being said, it has been great."

The former Belcourt Centre was donated to the association by the Diocese of Charlottetown.

Young said a lot of work has been done to the building over the the past few months and some upgrades to two stairwells is all that's left now to get the house up to code.

Renovations have been underway in the house since the keys were turned over to the Lennon Recovery House Association in May 2017. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC)

A place of transition

Young said that she had originally wanted the recovery house to open in November, but now has her sights set on July.

It will be a place for people to stay for longer than a month after completing treatment.

Community support has been tremendous, says Dianne Young. (CBC)

Young began work on the project in memory of her son, who died in 2013.

He had been dealing with mental health issues and drug addiction.

Help from across the Island

"We have gotten tremendous support from communities and people that have had similar circumstances as my son's death," Young said. 

"We've actually had $107,000 worth of money donated and so that has covered all the costs of what we have done so far." 

Young said that there is some work left, but provincial funding will be required to get the doors open.

The buildings stairs must be renovated to bring the facility up to fire code. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC)

"So we are going to have to have money for staff, money for food, money for the beds for people to come and stay because it is going to cost quite a bit," Young said.  

"We have been under negotiations and we have had … a couple of meetings and they were very positive meetings and so I feel very positive that government is on our side."

Government continuing discussions

In an emailed statement to CBC, a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Wellness said discussions will continue with the leadership of Lennon Recovery House.

"The Province has already put measures in place to financially support Lennon House through our SkillsPEI program for staffing supports and additional funding through Rural and Regional Development for capital costs," said the statement.

Lennon Recovery House includes a dining room, meeting area and space for therapy programs. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC)

The statement went on to say the government is still in discussion with Lennon Recovery House about what services and care the facility will provide, noting the province already provides "extensive" addiction services through Health PEI.

Young said she is optimistic that the Lennon Recovery House will soon be helping others.

The Lennon Recovery House is meant to be a treatment facility for people to stay for months at a time. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC)

"It has been very heartwarming," she said. "It is overwhelming sometimes because of all the donations and the people, the communities that have pulled together to make this happen because I could never do this on my own."

With files from Krystalle Ramlakhan