It has been four years since Anchor Industries Society unveiled plans for its expansion, and despite slow fundraising progress staff are anxious to move forward.
“This building is over 30 years old and in need of significant renovations aesthetically and to make it properly accessible,” explained executive director Marilyn Forrest. “And of course we need more space for those on the waiting list.”
That waiting list includes 70 people eager to benefit from everything the non-profit society has to offer. In addition to providing employment experiences through four onsite enterprises, the Lower Sackville enterprise offers an employment program that secures external job placements for clients.
Anchor already serves about 80 intellectually challenged people from the HRM area, including Sackville, Bedford, Fall River, Waverley and Dartmouth, but can’t keep up with the overwhelming demand for its services in the current 6,500 sq. ft. facility.
The planned expansion would add an additional 10,000 square feet and include a lunch room, accessible washrooms and more work space for the operation of Anchor’s onsite businesses. It would diminish the wait list and enable the society to accept bigger contracts from customers to generate more revenue.
More than half of Anchor’s funding is provided by the provincial department of community services. The remainder comes from Anchor’s own businesses, fundraising, and special projects.
“The provincial government did provide a $500,000 contribution and we have been fundraising on an ongoing basis. We now have over $600,000 of the required $1.7 million,” Forrest said. “We are working with our MLAs and they have been working with us as to ways we can proceed.”
Forrest said they’re exploring all funding possibilities, including a federal accessibility grant.
The community is encouraged to check out and support Anchor’s onsite businesses, and fundraising support is always welcomed.
The Ladle Restaurant serves up lunch to the public Mondays through Fridays and The Offshoot Shop handles assembly jobs. All Wrapped Up employees create unique hand-stamped and painted gift wrap, bags and cards, while The Print Shop designs and prints everything from basic business cards to full colour books.
“Anchor provides people with the opportunity to work and work has value,” Forrest said. “People’s self esteem, confidence and self reliance are all improved by a person being able to come to work. These are the building blocks for adults.”
The society’s annual Christmas auction and bazaar is set for Nov. 17 at the 61 Glendale Ave. facility from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Learn more about Anchor at www.anchorindustriessociety.org or at www.facebook.com/AnchorIndustriesSocietyAIS .