Commercial Kitchen Opens in Family Connections Centre

With help from the provincial government and the Stony Plain Rotary Club, a renovation was done to the kitchen at the Centre.

It was a big milestone for the Family Connections Centre in Stony Plain today with the official ribbon cutting for their new kitchen taking place.

On the three year anniversary of the Centre they unveiled their new commercial kitchen which they hope will house a variety of programs. Executive Director for the Alberta Parenting for The Future Association, Pamela Geddes explains why the kitchen took longer to develop when they took over the building saying, "When we did the redevelopment permit with the Town, the kitchen was excluded because it needed a new fire suppression system and some of the equipment upgraded to be operational". She adds at the time they did not have the money to fund the renovations.

Then in the fall of 2017 the Family Connections Centre made an application to the provincial government with the assistance of funding from the Stony Plain Rotary Club. The Rotary Club donated $25,000 on top of the Centres own $25,000 which the Albertan government then matched through the Community Facility Enhancement Grant. Geddes explained that part of the application process is explaining how their project will directly benefit the community and she adds, "we have a really good network of organizations sharing space in this community hub that all know their immediate constituents would benefit from the kitchen". Speaking further to this, Geddes says there's over 30,000 people coming through the building in a year for various reason and an additional 13 tenants in the Centre.

Geddes also adds the Centre already has big plans for programs, saying, "our plans for it is to use it as an ongoing strategy in the community to use it as part of their food safety". Additionally, programs will be extended for children in the kitchen as Geddes explains, "One of the ideas we want to do is lunch preparation for the kids to steer them away from pre-packaged portions like Lunchables, for options that they packages themselves so then they go home and know how to do that". She also adds programs like these will help children want to eat more and be more willing to try new things if they see what goes into making it.

Geddes also adds this kitchen and the programs which will come with it will bring a lot more different people into the building to teach them a variety of skills related to the kitchen such as smart shopping and budgeting to metric conversions for recipes.

This is only phase one of their project though as Geddes explains they want to develop an outdoor garden for the community to use once the snow melts and the soil thaws. The garden will provide an opportunity for residents in the community to plant and grow vegetables they may otherwise be unable to grow in their own homes. The Rotary Club also helped fund this project as Geddes explains they saw the value in how the garden could contribute to the kitchen.

Further plans are coming in the future to further develop the outdoor space, including a ground level treehouse for children to play in. The APFA says they have already begun to recieve donations and supports from local companies to help reduce the cost of building the garden.

Their end plan is to build 40 elevated gardens which cost about $2,000 each.

The total cost of the kitchen renovation was $103,242.





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