North

Iqaluit non-profit wants $1.5M for community wellness hub

The wellness hub would be used to help facilitate Qaujigiartiit programming as well as expand the programs it offers, such as family drop-in programs, counselling services, and early-childhood education.

'These spaces are really needed throughout the territory,' says executive director of research centre

Organizers with the Qaujigiartiit Health Research Centre want to build a two-storey facility to run their programs as well as other non-profit programs. (Qaujigiartiit Health Research Centre )

Qaujigiartiit Health Research Centre in Iqaluit wants to build a community wellness hub, and is hoping to come up with $1.5 million to do it.

"We are always struggling for space," said Gwen Healey Akearok, executive and scientific director of the centre.

Healey Akearok said it's a struggle to find affordable spaces to run programming that are accessible and family friendly. Programs are often running in places like school gyms or facilities that are only available at night.

The wellness hub would be used to help facilitate Qaujigiartiit programming as well as expand the programs it offers, such as family drop-in programs, counselling services, and early-childhood education.

One-stop shop

Ilisaqsivik Society and Tasiuqtigiit Hand-in-Hand Daycare Society are partners in the project and will run their programs out of the wellness hub. Amalgamating these services into one building is meant to make social services more accessible to the community.

Healey Akearok said the community is growing so fast these organizations can't keep up with the demand for programing within their current spaces.

"The need is great," said Healey Akearok. "These spaces are really needed throughout the territory."

The new two-storey building would be located downtown Iqaluit over two lots — 117 and 118.

"This would allow us to sort of expand and grow and reach more members of the community," said Healey Akearok.

Qaujigiartiit has been fundraising for a year and has received a $1-million donation from a community member.

Rental spaces to be offered

A Gofundme page has started to raise money for the facility, which had raised $1,590 as of Monday afternoon.

"There's currently no existing community wellness hub in Nunavut operating with this model," said Healey Akearok.  

There will be two rental spaces for other organizations in the wellness hub. The funds that are generated through rent will go back into the services being provided through the building.

If the hub is successful, Healey Akearok said it could be replicated in other Nunavut communities.

"This is really about the community and our communities at the heart of this," she said.