Neepawa's immigrant population continues to grow, and now its settlement services office is growing with them.
Neepawa & Area Immigrant Settlement Services (ISS) held its grand opening at its new location above the Neepawa-Gladstone Co-op Grocery Store this past Friday afternoon, welcoming in the community for an open house, snacks and conversation.
The settlement services office has relocated from its former location at the Westlake Employment Skills building and is now operating out of the area formerly utilized by Co-op's administration.
“It's great for what we need,” ISS settlement services coordinator Cheryl Campbell explained. “The new space allows us to have more personal space to talk with the people who come in.”
The new services office spans about 2,000 square feet – more than 10 times the size the ISS was formerly working out of. The new space includes a private office, general office and a board meeting/workshop area the ISS is excited about.
“Now we have that space to run our workshops,” Campbell said, noting the workshops will help acclimatize newcomers to life in Canada. Upcoming workshops include subjects such as seasons and weather in Neepawa, identification cards and their purposes, finding information using the phone book, legal aid information sessions, health and wellness topics, sponsorship information classes, as well as a program titled, “Nine steps to job readiness for permanent residents”.
The extra space had become a necessity for the office that has seen its employment double from two to four over the past two years.
Along with Campbell, Don Walmsley and Agni Demey have been employed as settlement workers, while Myla Ignacio has been employed as the new receptionist.
The ISS aims to provide assistance to people who are learning to live in a new country, while helping people develop the skills and knowledge necessary to participate in the Canadian society.
Campbell noted the ISS has also created a Neepawa Welcoming Community committee which is looking for involvement from anyone in the community who is interested in being involved in the settling and integration of newcomers into the community.
Anyone interested can contact Cheryl at (204) 476-2055 or attend the next meeting on Wednesday, March 19 at 5 p.m. in the ISS's new location.