LONDON, ON, May 31, 2012 /CNW/ - Today The Salvation Army Divisional Commander of the Ontario Great Lakes Division, Lt. Colonel Lee Graves officially announced the closing of The Salvation Army Bethesda Centre in London Ontario.
Lt. Colonel Graves said, "For the past 130 years, The Salvation Army has faithfully served the citizens of London, and The Salvation Army remains fully committed to continue serving the needs of this community in the years ahead. Over the past 130 years, The Salvation Army's programs and services have responded and evolved to the changing needs of our city. The Salvation Army Bethesda Centre is a very proud part of our heritage and we are grateful for the ministry of the program and staff over the years.
Over the past 4 years the existing operating model at The Salvation Army Bethesda Centre has demonstrated that the model is no longer sustainable and the result has been significant negative financial impact for The Salvation Army. The organization has had to contribute an additional $845,000 from other Salvation Army sources during this time period.
It was announced on February 1, 2012 that The Salvation Army Bethesda Centre would be closing due to funding challenges. Following a plea from the community, The Salvation Army further announced on March 9, 2012 that if $1.5M was raised by 31 May 2012 the closure could be avoided. If achieved, the funding would provide The Salvation Army with a window of 3-5 years to explore alternative programming and sustainable funding models.
Unfortunately, the $1.5 million in new funding has not been raised to date, thus effective June 1, 2012, The Salvation Army Bethesda Centre will commence a program closure process which will effectively ensure formal conclusion of the program on June 30, 2012.
The well-being of our residents and clients is always our first concern and we will continue to provide support for those in our care until June 30, 2012. The case managers at Bethesda are developing exit strategies for each resident currently at the facility to ensure a smooth transition for the women and children in our care. The June 30, 2012 closing date will give the women an opportunity to finish the school year in their respective educational programs.
The Day Care Centre at the Bethesda Centre will remain open until August 31, 2012 giving the parents and guardians the opportunity to find alternative care over the summer months.
We are grateful for the support The Salvation Army has received over the last few months for the Bethesda Centre. Anyone who donated either on-line at www.salvationarmy.ca/savebethesda or through a local Salvation Army unit will have the option to have their financial donation refunded or have their donation reallocated to another Salvation Army social service program within the London community.
At this time, no decision has been made regarding the future use of the Bethesda Centre building. We are working with The Salvation Army London Citizens Advisory Board and other consultants to determine next steps as we transition to closing the facility over the next few months.
Although The Salvation Army has had to make this difficult decision to close The Bethesda Centre, I want to make it clear that, moving forward, The Salvation Army is fully committed to serving the citizens of London through our other programs and services every day. We are thankful for our supporters and partners and for their ongoing dedication as we together continue to serve the London community.
Let me conclude by saying that although the Bethesda Centre will have to close, The Salvation Army is fully committed to serving the London community 365 days a year. "
About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army is an international Christian organization that began its work in Canada in 1882 and has grown to become the largest non-governmental direct provider of social services in the country. The Salvation Army gives hope and support to vulnerable people today and everyday in 400 communities across Canada and more than 120 countries around the world. The Salvation Army offers practical assistance for children and families, often tending to the basic necessities of life, providing shelter for homeless people and rehabilitation for people who have lost control of their lives to an addiction.
When you give to The Salvation Army, you are investing in the future of marginalized and overlooked people in your community.
For further information:
Major Pat Phinney, Divisional Secretary for Public Relations and Development
t) 519-873-2983 c) 519-521-2351