Lacombe FCSS is housed on the second floor of the Lacombe Memorial Centre. (Photo:

Lacombe FCSS is housed on the second floor of the Lacombe Memorial Centre. (Photo:

Lacombe FCSS, CAYU receive grants to support mental health

Two Lacombe organizations have been approved for substantial grants under Phase I of the United Conservative Party’s (UCP’s) Community Grant Funding Program.

The program aims to support the work of organizations that provide mental health and addiction recovery services as part of the provincial government’s $53 million COVID Mental Health Action Plan.

“Alberta’s government has always prioritized treating those suffering from addiction and mental health concerns with care and compassion,” stated a Feb. 11 UCP caucus press release.

“We understand that partnering with local treatment providers is often the best way to deliver the support these Albertans need.”

The Lacombe and District Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) was approved for a $44,441 grant, and the Central Alberta Youth for Christ Society (also known as Central Alberta Unlimited) was approved for $44,746.

Although the funding was recently announced, the funds were approved and received by both organizations last fall.

“The Lacombe and District FCSS offers locally based preventative and supportive services, promoting volunteerism, and coordinating local partnerships,” said Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr in the release.

“This grant of over $40,000 from Alberta’s government will help them continue strengthening and enhancing family and community life.”

Lacombe FCSS received the grant funding in September, 2020, according to executive officer Susan MacDonald.

“We were pleased to be approved for Phase I,” said MacDonald in an interview.

Phase I of the program was intending to help organizations who provide mental health and addiction recovery services to survey their communities to ascertain the needs of the public during COVID-19, says MacDonald.

In October, FCSS hired a new mental health and addictions facilitator, who investigated the needs in the community.

Since the fall, FCSS has “learned quite a bit,” and with a part of the funding allotted for Phase I, has been able to begin implementing some supports, such as virtual support groups.

FCSS is hoping that restrictions will ease enough by March that they will be able to provide small in-person support group sessions.

More support programs are pending.

MacDonald says the intent of the program was that in Phase II, more funding would be provided to develop supports based on the findings of Phase I, however, by the time Phase I was completed, the deadlines for applying for Phase II and III had already passed.

Central Alberta Youth Unlimited (CAYU) received the grant money in October, according to executive director Jerel Peters.

CAYU’s mission is to bring hope and wellness to youth and young women, says Peters.

“The funding allows us to continue providing essential supports such as counselling and mental health support for youth and their families,” he said.

The funds have been used in their counselling program. CAYU currently has two therapists on staff who are providing counselling to those affected by COVID-19.

It is a multi-site program and the therapists provide sessions to clients around central Alberta on a weekly basis.

CAYU has facilities in Lacombe and Rimbey and provides programs in Central Alberta, including Stepping Stones in Ponoka.