Last June, Peterborough opened its first ever Consumption and Treatment Services site (CTS).
“The first year of operations has exceeded our expectations,” says Donna Rogers, Executive Director of Fourcast. “We had a very short time to move from funding to operation because we felt compelled to provide a safe option for service users and to honor the incredible support of our community partners. It took extraordinary efforts on behalf of Fourcast staff and supporters as well as the newly hired CTS staff to create the success of this first year of operations.”
Key to the successful operation of the CTS is Kerri Kightley, Manager of Consumption and Treatment Services and Sonya Trotter, Manager of Opioid Case Management and Mobile Support Overdose Support Team (MSORT).
“The first year has had a steep learning curve,” Kerri says. “The CTS team has done a remarkable job of navigating the launch of a new service and watching service use grow from 500 visits per month to more than 1300 per month. As a team, we have reversed 70 overdoses and have provided care, support and referrals to health, treatment and social supports to 343 unique individuals.” (Read their year in review here)
MSORT works alongside the CTS to help service users navigate systems and get connected to the supports they want and need. “In the past year, MSORT has supported 21 individuals into supportive housing,” Sonya says. “We have also connected 76 clients to treatment supports, provided medical system navigation and wound care supports, and we provide harm reduction supplies and education to 20-25 people per day.”
The 220 Simcoe St. site has proven to be an ideal location for the CTS but its footprint isn’t quite big enough to accommodate all of its clients and staff. “The site has evolved into a response hub that includes MSORT, PARN’s Harm Reduction Works as well as the CTS,” says Donna Rogers. “The space is maximized for service response but less than ideal for staff workspace. Soon after full CTS operations began it became apparent that a separate space just for staff use was required.”
Clear Global Answered the Call to Help – Twice
When Kevin MacDonald of Clear Global learned that Fourcast needed space for its prospective CTS, he purchased 220 Simcoe St. expressly to rent the space to them. “The caring of the organizations involved serving those experiencing hard times and suffering, for a multitude of reasons, was palpable,” he says. “We also had first-hand experience with the difficulties people faced when looking for space to lease for Brock Mission’s shelter, so we knew we wanted to help.”
When Donna Rogers began making enquiries about purchasing a construction trailer that could be used as office space parked right outside the front doors of the CTS, MacDonald offered to help, yet again.
“When I heard Donna’s team needed a place of reprieve from the intense and often heartbreaking work environment at the CTS,” Kevin says, “we offered to manufacture a custom solution, which eventually came to be known as The Pad.”
The Community Foundation committed early to helping fund this space for CTS staff because, as Jennifer DeBues, Executive Director of the Community Foundation says, “Many of us have family members, coworkers, or friends who have been directly affected by this issue. That translated into a strong surge of support through the Light the Way campaign and subsequent donations. Giving frontline workers room to do their work effectively just made sense.”
The Pad, Explained
The need to increase the footprint of the CTS was straightforward – the staff required a private office space to quietly do their administrative work, conduct meetings, training sessions, and take a break from the stresses of their frontline duties. “In addition to it providing much needed space, Kevin MacDonald says, “we thought The Pad should also be built to the standards of a full-fledged four-season home. That way it can be repurposed if it’s no longer needed by the CTS.”
Working in collaboration with the City of Peterborough, Otonabee Region Conservation Authority (Jackson’s Creek runs directly underneath 220 Simcoe St.), MacDonald’s team at Clear Global created a 400 sq. ft. modern structure with a sloped roof, residential quality cladding, and all the amenities of a small home.
“Those most impacted by substance use are highly stigmatized,” says Donna Rogers, “which made the Light the Way campaign so unexpected and wonderful. I continue to be overwhelmed and humbled by the generosity of those who wish to make positive change in our community through their support of the Community Foundation. It has certainly made a big difference in our ability to provide life-saving services to those in need.”
The Pad was delivered to 220 Simcoe Street in late June 2023 and is now an integral part of the Consumption and Treatment Services site.
(Photo by Donna Rogers)