More than two years of planning and raising money has now concluded with the result being a new and larger kitchen for Houston Link to Learning.
“Our fabulous builders started work in mid-December and worked so hard over the break to get this completed. On Jan 6 we came back to work to our brand new kitchen,” reports Marian Ells, Houston Link to Learning’s executive director.
Houston Link to Learning leases space from Coast Mountain College and, in pursuing its various food programs, found an existing kitchen space too small, leading to the successful project ending in a much larger space.
“The room we used for the renos was the size of two large classrooms and was originally designed so large for first aid courses that require a lot of floor space,” said Ells.
”The room was too big for our purposes so we divided the room in two and on one side is our new kitchen and on the other side is our computer lab. Renovations included flooring across both rooms, building the wall, plumbing and electrical, the kitchen itself and all the appliances.”
“Our builders, Mid-Valley Ventures from Topley, were absolutely fantastic and completed on time and in budget,” Ells continued.
A $26,000 provincial gaming grant last spring helped set the financing foundation for the project which was then bolstered by $30,000 from the Northern Development Initiative Trust last fall and then a further $18,000 from the local Dungate Community Forest.
Ells said, however, several features, including a pantry, had to be removed from the original design to keep the project within the allotted budget but that a $2,500 grant received Jan. 7 means Houston Link to Learning is getting a quote so the pantry can be added back in.
With the kitchen now fully functional, Houston Link to Learning has been quick to incorporate it into its activities.
“In just the first month of our new kitchen we have run several programs including our ‘Take and Bake Thursdays, our Family Literacy Brunch and on Monday we are starting our Food Skills for Families program,” Ells said.
“As you can see we are already using the space well. The kitchen is also available for the community. Anyone interested in renting the space can call us at 250 845 2727.”
Houston Link to Learning has as its core philosophy expanding literacy and has found that food programs are effective in bringing a new dimension to literacy training.