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‘We turn away 1,900 children in a year’: fundraising underway for second crisis nursery in Calgary

Click to play video: '‘We turn away 1,900 children in a year’: fundraising underway for second crisis nursery in Calgary' ‘We turn away 1,900 children in a year’: fundraising underway for second crisis nursery in Calgary
WATCH: Over the past decade, the Children's Cottage Society crisis nursery has had to turn away more families than it was able to help because of a lack of space and resources. As Tiffany Lizée reports, a campaign is already underway to help fund a second nursery to help close that gap. – Jun 9, 2021

The Children’s Cottage Society has launched the Caring Together Campaign to fundraise for a new child and family centre in northwest Calgary.

The society offers care and support through 11 early intervention programs. Their crisis nursery opened in 1986 and has since been a safe haven for struggling families.

It has allowed parents to remove their children from stressful situations while they get the help they need.

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One Calgary woman told Global News she has used the crisis nursery on a number of occasions and was grateful for the resources they were able to provide her, helping her become a better parent.

“I was a new mom, I didn’t know anything and then it gets stressful so you need a safe place for the kids to go,” the woman said.

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“I called them because I was so stressed out… the baby just keeps crying and there (were) so many things going on and you just need to take that downtime, you need to regain your thoughts so you can just be a good parent.”

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According to the Children’s Cottage Society CEO, Patty Kilgallon, their current CCS nursery is able to help 1,200 kids a year.

Unfortunately, over the past decade, the nursery has had to turn away more families than it was able to help because of a lack of space as well as resources.

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She explained there are many different circumstances that may bring a family to a point of crisis, and it’s crucial — especially for children involved — that help be accessible at that time of need.

“When parents call the children’s cottage, they’re really taking a leap of faith. It really takes a lot of strength to ask for help,” Kilgallon said.

“When we say no, that we have no space at the children’s cottage today, that’s the most devastating day ever.

“We need to do better and we need to have some solutions to make sure that we have space available for when that mom calls, so that those little ones are going to be assisted and that nothing bad will happen.”

The society is already working on a solution to that problem, and has started a campaign to fund a new child and family centre in west Calgary.

The society said in 2016, the frisis nursery had to turn away 1,795 kids and that number jumped to 1,915 in 2019.
The society said in 2016, the frisis nursery had to turn away 1,795 kids and that number jumped to 1,915 in 2019. Children's Cottage Society

The new centre will include a 20-bed crisis nursery, counselling services, a therapeutic child development program and other programs.

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“By creating this new child and family centre in Montgomery, the Children’s Cottage can help address emerging issues in small children before there are lifelong and life-altering impacts,” Kilgallon said.

The organization hopes the new centre will allow them to help an additional 8,850 children.

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Learn more about the plans for a new Children’s Cottage facility – Jun 4, 2021

With a goal of $18 million, Kilgallon said the campaign has already raised over $11 million.

“We have $7 million to goal so that we can start building, and that’s what we’re hoping people in Calgary will do.”

An anonymous donor is matching every donation up to $1.75 million dollars.

“Help us to help the 1,900 children by helping us raise $7 million, and do that, any way you can. No gift is too small,” Kilgallon said.

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The Children’s Cottage Society hopes to get shovels in the ground by March 2022 and open the doors to their new child and family centre in late 2023.

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