| Aug 19, 2010

Northern Frontenac Community Services has a storied history.

Its roots go back longer than 35 years, to 1971 and a public meeting at Sharbot Lake High School, where one major conclusion was reached. The link between the communities in the northern half of Frontenac County, which was defined as north of Verona at that time, had been severed with the closing of the railroad and a sense of community had to be re-established.

With this goal in mind a number of initiatives were undertaken. The North Frontenac News was founded in 1971; two workers were hired to analyse organisational and social service issues in North Frontenac in 1972; and the first seniors’ clubs also started up in 1972.

In 1973 people began to discuss a vital concern, the plight of the mentally handicapped in the north, resulting in the formation of the North Frontenac Association for the Mentally Handicapped, which eventually became Community Living – North Frontenac.

By 1975 North Frontenac Community Services was ready to become a stand-alone Not-For-Profit Corporation, the first multi-service centre in the Province of Ontario. Its stated concerns were summed up in two founding principles:

“(1) the residents of North Frontenac have ready access to a full array of social services and these be coordinated, appropriate and effective;

“(2) citizens be encouraged and assisted to participate in community development and the solving of common problems.”

Thirty-five years later Northern Frontenac Community Services offers a range of programming for children, youth, adults, families, and seniors using the same basic multi-service model that it pioneered back in 1975.

Adult services are still based in the “mother ship”, the former Anglican rectory on the hill behind the Oso hall in Sharbot Lake, and Children’s services are based in the Ontario Early Years Centre further north on Road 38.

Much has changed over 35 years, and NFCS has faced a number of struggles over funding and structure, but the basic model of service has not altered. A phone call to 613-279-3151 opens a door to the kind of help rural residents in Central, North, and parts of South Frontenac need, be it help with income tax preparations, in supporting older family members, family or financial troubles, and much more.

NFCS offers a number of services of its own, and through a network of affiliates it can connect people to the supports they need, often from agencies that rent office space in the adult centre.

A phone call to 613-279-2244 will connect any young family with supports for their children, from playgroups, to daycare, nursery school, information about children’s health concerns, hearing, behaviour, and more. The Child Centre provides outreach programming for children and youth, through playgroups in communities throughout the region.

A recent addition to the NFCS family of buildings is the Seniors’ Centre, located beside the Sharbot Lake United Church.

After 35 years of service, NFCS is taking the opportunity to host a celebration next week.

35th Anniversary Family Day Event: On Thursday, 26th August, at Oso Township Beach, Sharbot Lake, Northern Frontenac Community Services would like to invite the community to come out to their 35th anniversary celebration, a free BBQ serving hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, and pop to go along with some great children’s activities - air castles, pony rides, and face painting for the little ones, and local musicians playing for the adults. The event will run from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

In addition, a youth dance is taking place at the Oso Hall from 6 to 9pm, for youth in grades 4 to 8, cost of $6 per person. Sound on Sound Productions has been hired for a great light show along with awesome music. Canteen will be on site serving pop, water, chips and chocolate bars.


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