Cranbrook’s new Immigrant Welcome Centre at 19A 9th Avenue South held a grand opening ceremony Thursday, July 25, to celebrate the further development of Cranbrook as a place where newcomers can make a home where they feel at home.
The centre ensures that immigrants have a place where they feel welcome, and where they can access services. It also helps the citizens of Cranbrook get involved in making immigrants feel welcome and at home.
“Whether they come from the U.S. or Sri Lanka or Nepal, this is a place for them,” said Katherine Hough, Community Literacy Coordinator for the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL).
The Welcome Centre is funded under a larger federal/provincial initiative, Welcoming Communities. CBAL is the lead organization in Cranbrook and Kimberley (whose own Immigrant Welcome Centre also opened recently). But CBAL is partnering with several other organizations, such as the Salvation Army, the Cranbrook Public Library, the Chamber of Commerce, the Access Centre, and many others. Many programs are provided to help newcomers settle and adapt to the local environment, such as Living Libraries, Business Without Borders, One World Garden Workshops, Friends in the Kitchen, and Training for Daycare Operators.
Katherine Hough, CBAL Regional Manager Betty Knight and Cranbrook Mayor Wayne Stetski also made some opening remarks. Stetski read out some statistics, among which were the fact that 1,600 Cranbrookians — or 8.7 per cent of the population — were immigrants. The majority of these are people from the United States, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Australia and Germany.
The ribbon was then cut declaring the Immigrant Welcome Centre open, and cake was served to those in attendence.
The Cranbrook Centre is looking for volunteers. If you are a welcoming person and can volunteer a few hours a week please contact the office at 250-581-2112 or email email@example.com. Training will be provided.