Diamond Valley volunteers are feeling uplifted knowing they can soon offer unlimited access to their youth-focused services.
The Boys and Girls Club of Diamond Valley received $20,000 from the Alberta Culture and Tourism’s Community Facility Enhancement Program to build a wheelchair lift at its facility, located in the upper level of the Oilfields Regional Arena in Black Diamond.
Livingstone-Macleod MLA Pat Steir and Lethbridge-East MLA Bridget Pastoor presented the cheque to the club on Feb. 4.
“We’ve been trying five years to get money for a wheelchair lift to come up the back stairwell,” said the club’s executive director Shirley Puttock. “The Boys and Girls Club philosophy is we include all children. We can’t really say that when you’re on the second floor and have no way to get everybody in. I believe we missed out on kids that couldn’t come up.”
The club needed to pay half the cost to qualify for the provincial funding. With a price tag of $40,000, Puttock said they weren’t able to come up with the money until Legacy Oil and Gas donated $20,000 through its Legacy Community Foundation.
“This has been a big deal for me because I really believe every place should be accessible for people,” she said, adding one of their volunteers is in a wheelchair and can’t access the facility.
“It’s thrilling for us to be completely accessible for everyone. Nobody is excluded because of mobility issues.”
Puttock expects the lift will be ready for use in two months. She said the Town of Black Diamond contributed about $2,000 to pay for electrical upgrades and two new doors.
The Boys and Girls Club offers before and after school care to about 35 children, has 60 youngsters in its preschool program and about 30 in its youth programs, which range from a breakfast club to grieving support groups.