The relocation of the Stemete7uw’i Friendship Centre to Birch Avenue couldn’t have gone smoother.
Manager Murray Casey said the community came together to help the centre relocate from its old home behind St. Timothy’s Anglican Church to 330 Birch Ave. With the help of the Cariboo Christian Life Fellowship and 100 Mile House Wranglers, Casey said the move took just a few hours.
“On Thursday the CCLF showed up with a moving truck and within 37 minutes had emptied our old building. They got it down here and unloaded it in 45 minutes and they had figured it would take three hours,” Casey said. “It’s gone smoother than I thought, I was stressing over things but I said everything would fall into place just as it was supposed to and it did.”
The relocation was funded by a $30,000 grant from the South Cariboo Community Enhancement Foundation.
After being closed last week for the move, Casey reopened Stemete7uw’i this past Tuesday. As renovations to the new space are completed he said the centre will remain open Tuesdays to Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The lunch program will now only run from 12 – 12:30 p.m. as Casey will no longer be cooking throughout the day. Coffee, tea and snacks will still be available during opening hours.
Over the next few weeks, Casey and the rest of the board intend to repaint the walls, put in new LED lights, install a new public bathroom, create a kitchenette in the back and build him an office. He said they plan to have all of these projects complete by January when they will officially have their grand re-opening.
“It is like a fresh new start. We don’t have to follow that direction we were taking up there. We can move forward in a different direction altogether.”
Part of this new start is broadening the friendship centre’s clientele. Rather than just curating to elders, Casey said he plans to connect with the youth of the community. He said high school students, just like everyone, will be welcome to grab lunch at the friendship centre and chat with the staff.
They also plan to become more involved with community events and offer bannock days and movie nights for the community to enjoy. A renewed focus on Indigenous ceremonies and events will also be a priority, Casey added.
“It’s going to be different being downtown,” Casey said. “People do need that social aspect, especially in 100 Mile. People come in and they get to meet other people, make friends and connections.”