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EOCF Funding scores big for Bissell Centre youngsters

by Cam Tait / Edmonton Oilers

Edmonton evenings are about to change with the Edmonton Oilers moving into Rogers Place downtown.

photo provided by Bissel Centre

Thanks to the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation (EOCF), significant changes are also happening in the daytime for Edmonton youngsters who, one day, will enjoy Rogers Place and Ice District.

The EOCF has made a $27,000 contribution in their spring funding to the Bissell Centre to expand their childcare facility, a free service the Bissell Centre provides to children in the downtown who need it. An additional 60 children a day will be able to enjoy a safe and secure environment.

Funds also assisted in purchasing new cribs, tables, chairs, toys, art supplies, bookshelves and other items. 

The facility is the only one of its kind in Edmonton.

“The funding furthers our work significantly because we no longer have to be concerned with how we will get these critically important items,” said Rob Fragoso, Director of Development & Stakeholder Relations for the Bissell Centre.

“This allows us to focus our energy on providing the best possible care for the children we look after.” 

EOCF executive director Natalie Minckler said the Bissell Centre contribution fits right in with the foundation’s objectives.

“From an EOCF perspective it’s about helping individuals, families and organizations build capacity,” said Natalie.  “We hope this financial grant to the Bissell Centre will assist those people who require access to the free child care facility with the services they need”.

The childcare program is one of 13 core programs the Bissell Centre provides, aiming to remove barriers facing citizens and families in poverty. Such programs are rays of hope for low-income or in-crisis parents and guardians.

Every year, Bissell Centre receives 7,000 applications for the program with more than 500 children under the age of five receiving assistance.

Under current conditions, the childcare facility has capacity for 40 kids a day. With EOCF funding that number will be increased to 100 a day, or 1,250 children annually.

Rob says having the Oilers downtown will strengthen the community.

“We welcome the Oilers as community-minded neighbours who care as much about the product they put on the ice as they do about enhancing the community they live in. It is an advantage to have them closer to the core of the city to experience all that Edmonton has to offer, and for the Oilers to also see what we’re doing that helps make our city great for everyone,” he said.

“We are excited by the possibilities of working together to make our community stronger, safer, and better for all.”

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