Access Health Centre Celebrates First Year of Service

Active ImageVictoria – October 12, 2010 – After a full year of service at their new location at 713 Johnson Street in the Access Health Centre, partners Victoria Cool Aid Society and AIDS Vancouver (AVI) have much to celebrate. Together, well over 1,500 more persons are receiving respectful and effective health care and social services than could be served at the old locations. As well, a range of improved services, from group medicine to 8,000 nutritious meals for Victoria’s most marginalized citizens, have been possible with the new space and equipment.

“We knew that Access would mean an improvement in people’s lives,” said Irene Haigh-Gidora, manager of community health services for Cool Aid. “But we underestimated the additional number of people we would be able to serve and are pleased with the positive synergies of several agencies providing complementary services under one roof.”

A complete services and statistics summary is found in the enclosed materials. Here are a few facts from the first year of operation at the Access Health Centre:

  • 510 new patients welcomed at the Cool Aid Community Health Centre
  • 76 new volunteers helping deliver AIDS Vancouver Island programs
  • 5,301 dental encounters at the Cool Aid Dental Clinic (up 1,570 over last year)
  • 20 AVI support groups and workshops monthly; focussed on prevention and health programming
  • 34,677 medical and dental encounters in the first year of operation (up 5,638)
  • 8,000 nutritious meals served at the AVI café

Today, Access Health Centre services include:

  • AIDS Vancouver Island’s harm reduction, prevention, education and support services, including management for services in Nanaimo, Campbell River and Port Hardy
  • Cool Aid’s Community Health Centre, Dental Clinic and pharmacy
  • (delivering comprehensive primary health care)
  • Housing and addictions counsellors with the Victoria Native Friendship Centre
  • VIHA’s home support services for persons with mental illness and addictions
  • GV Coalition to End Homelessness’ Streets to Homes programs, helping people who are homeless to obtain and stay in apartments

A series of short Fact Sheets and articles are available online outlining the enhanced services and the state of the fundraising campaign:

$4.4 million of the $5.3 million cost to provide these enhanced services has been provided through contributions by government, the project partners, foundations, business and individuals ($880,000 remains to complete the fundraising campaign). Details enclosed.

The Access Health Centre is a one-stop health and social services building downtown serving over 6,000 people struggling with homelessness, addictions and mental health issues.  Access is a joint project of the Victoria Cool Aid Society and AIDS Vancouver Island, and cost $5.3 million to reconstruct the heritage building at 713 Johnson Street. Services at the Access Health Centre include counselling, education and harm reduction; mental health, dental, pharmaceutical and primary health care for people who are homeless, poor and vulnerable; and assistance for people to obtain and stay in housing.

For more information please visit .

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Irene Haigh-Gidora, Manager of Community Health Services, Victoria Cool Aid Society

Andrea Langlois
Manager of Communications, AIDS Vancouver Island