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NONA announces $1.6-million facility for kids with special needs

NONA Child Development Centre announced its Build The Clubhouse initiative in Vernon on Monday. .
NONA Child Development Centre announced its Build The Clubhouse initiative in Vernon on Monday. . Photo credit: Twitter/@NONACDC

VERNON — The north Okanagan will be home to a new $1.6-million facility for children with special needs.

The announcement was made on Monday about the plans for what will be called, The Clubhouse, in Vernon. It’s all part of a community initiative called Build the Clubhouse.

It comes as an increase is seen in the number of children and youth who are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder each year, which is driving the need for more space and more appropriate resources, according to staff at NONA Child Development Centre.

“The new Clubhouse will be adjacent to the existing facility, creating a seamless campus for families. We are so excited to be able to offer a continuum of services as a child grows in a suitable, comprehensive and connected centre,” says NONA’s Executive Director, Helen Armstrong.

NONA provides services to more than 700 children and youth with special needs and their families each year.

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Staff at NONA say the Clubhouse will double the number of therapy rooms, offer specialized learning opportunities for feeding and life skills, and allow on-site access to supplies and unique teaching materials.

NONA says the project is being funded through donations from local businesses, community service clubs, foundations and individuals.

“We are delighted to have already received donations and pledges totalling nearly $700,000. On behalf of our families and staff, NONA is very appreciative to the community for their generous donations and to the volunteers who are helping us Build the Clubhouse for the north Okanagan,” says NONA ‘s Board Chair, Janice Foster.

The three-story facility will be built by Silver Rock Land Corp. It will have a learning kitchen, 10 therapy rooms, a gymnasium and a third floor that will be available on a long-term lease to a tenant, which will help pay for operating costs, according to NONA.