The BeginningIt all began early in 1992 at a meeting of the Ladysmith Inter-Agency Liaison Committee, a group of representatives from the government mandated agencies formed in the early 1970’s to maximize cooperation among the agencies while minimizing the duplication of services. During the late 1980’s and early 1990’s it had become evident that the economic climate in and around Ladysmith had changed. Once the domain of mining and forestry, jobs in those industries diminished and the economy took a downward turn. Social problems became evident. These problems seemed to repeat from one generation to the next running the gamut of various forms of addictions and abuses to vandalism and family breakdown. It was during this time that the IALC met to discuss the problems they were observing. A presentation was made by a concerned citizen outlining a perceived need for a different group with a much broader mandate and which was central, local, readily identified and easily accessed.
In 1992 this group pooled some of their own money and decided to form a non-profit association to try to deal with these recurring situations. This became the foundation of the Ladysmith Resources Centre Association.
The first Board of Directors included Tom Beames, Dorothy Durban, Faye Hollett, Dennis Lait, Gerry Montgomery, Mary Mulrooney, Shelley Rattink, Alex Stuart, Doug Thring (Chair) and Betty Turner. Incorporation was achieved on the 22nd of July, 1992. A temporary home was found for the fledgling organization at 225 High Street. Necessary alterations were accomplished when a number of the steering committee members contributed money and willing volunteers donated time and talent.
His Honor, Mayor R. Rose, officially opened this, our first home, on November 9, 1992. Very soon, the office was a functioning entity entirely staffed by volunteers under the coordination, training and direction of Sharon Greene, herself a volunteer.
One of the first tasks undertaken by the Centre, with the aid of a Provincial grant, was an extensive assessment of the community’s needs. The results of this project formed the basis for justifying the formation of the Centre and for determining directions for the new developments.
Funding for programs such as the Nobody’s Perfect parenting program (February 1993), (now Triple P), Community Volunteer Income Tax Program, Youth at Risk Worker Program, (January 1995), were and are still received from the provincial government. The LRCA also administered funds for groups such as Ladysmith Family and Friends (LaFF) and New Directions in Health to assist them in their formation.
On May 3rd, 1994 the Centre was moved to 112-B French Street (formerly Dr. Neale’s Veterinary Hospital). Volunteers again, came forth to do the necessary renovations, and the Centre was quickly opened for business once again.
In May 1994, Sandy Barton (the first employee and one of the volunteers) was hired as Office Manager and in March 1995, Dennis Lait (a founding board member, resigned his position as Treasurer) to become part-time Coordinator to manage the day-to-day operations of the Associations. The demands for services had increased to a point that staffing was required to meet the need. In June 1997, the continuing growth of the Association resulted in the part time position of Coordinator being changed to the full time position of Executive Director.
On May 1, 1996, the LRCA moved once again to 721 First Avenue, having outgrown its previous location. Again extensive renovations and construction were undertaken with both staff and volunteers putting in many volunteer hours.
Expansion of services and programs continued to develop with the addition of Youth at risk and Youth Addictions programs, Advocacy, Volunteer Counselling, the Community Computer Center providing affordable access to computers and the Internet, Ladysmith Food Bank, supported by the Churches of Ladysmith, the Victim Service program, a Community Police Station summer placement program and the Ladysmith Early Childhood Committee. New programs were added as requested and a need identified, such as Born Healthy, a prenatal program, Good Food Box, Adventures in Early Literacy, and Dad’s Group.
The New Millennium
On May 9th, 2011, the LRCA moved into their new building on 630 2nd Avenue. This property located where the old tennis courts once stood is owned by the Town of Ladysmith, came about as a result of a partnership between the Town, Ladysmith Resources Centre Association, Boys and Girls Club and the Ladysmith Seniors Society, and is now part of what is called “Spirit Square”.
The LRCA continues to grow and has become an integral part of the Ladysmith community. Anyone wishing a more detailed or photographic history of the Association can stop by the office and view the Association’s photo album available through reception.