CARBONEAR, NL — U-Turn in Carbonear received a significant sum of money in the 2018 provincial budget.
The non-profit addictions centre has been in business in the community for approximately five years and plays a major role in the battle against addiction that many in the area face.
This year’s budget saw over $10 million identified for mental health and addictions programs throughout the province.
Among this, $1.1 million was allocated for the enhancement of e-health initiatives province-wide, as well as $440,000 to support continued monitoring and evaluation of the Mental Health and Addictions Plan.
Some specific organizations receiving funding include Consumers’ Health Awareness Network Newfoundland and Labrador (CHANNAL), which will get $460,000 for their warm line and peer support services, and U-Turn, which will receive $120,000 to increase peer support services at the centre.
U-Turn executive director Jeff Bourne spoke with the Compass about the funding following the budget announcement.
He said the centre is more than happy with the funding and is certain it will play a major role in how the organization can help those who seek out U-Turn’s services.
“We’re going to all sit down with the board of directors to have a chat about what we can do with the funding,” he said, noting that no decisions have been set in stone until such a meeting takes place.
“Our main priority, of course, is to see how we can use the money to help people and family members that are seeking recovery from addiction.”
In 2015, U-Turn also received $70,000 in funding, which supported the hiring of an executive director, as well as the operation of the centre as a whole.
Bourne explained the extra money received this year will help free up some time the centre usually spends with re-applying for funding. That will allow him and the rest of the centre to spend more time focusing on other priorities, such as administrative work, the peer support that this year’s funding focused on, and making connections with other community partners.
Bourne is also a member of the Mental Health and Addictions Recovery Council for Newfoundland and Labrador. He says that a lot of work is being done behind the scenes in the province. These sorts of funding announcements serve as a major help to the various organizations across the province, he said.
“There’s a lot of great things that are getting done out there, and the province is really taking the right avenues towards mental illness and addictions in Newfoundland,” he said. “We’re kind of like pioneers for the rest of the country when you look at some of the things we’re stepping out and working towards.”
U-Turn, much like other similar non-profit organizations, tends to keep a strong emphasis on different funding avenues provided by provincial governments. The centre received a smaller amount of funding earlier in February, and with the announcement of this extra $120,000 coming from the 2018 budget, Bourne says things should run smoothly for the facility in the coming months.
The organization is currently in the process of moving to a new location, which is nearly three times as large as its current 650-square-foot space.
New technologies, new furniture, and a fresh, clean, brand-new space is all in the centre’s future, so Bourne sees the budget funding going a long way for U-Turn.
“I’m glad U-Turn got recognized because we’re really the only drop-in centre for addictions outside of St. John’s – out (pass) the overpass,” Bourne said.
“Since 2013, we’ve grown a lot, and we’re continuing to grow. In February of this year, we had 747 visits – that’s recovery meetings or just people just dropping in during the day. In February of 2013, we had 365 visits – just about double over the last four or five years.
“It’s easy to see that addictions centres and things like that are a necessity in the area, so receiving funding like this $120,000 is going to help a lot of people.”
While the funding has not been assigned by the board of directors just yet, Bourne says there some great things are coming for U-Turn, as well as other organizations. Being recognized for funding is the first step, he said.
“Funding announcements like this are going to help us as community organizations to work together more – not that we were completely out of touch – but this is a nice push and clears some things off our plates so we’ve got more time to focus on the organizations, and more importantly, the communities and the people in them who need our help.”