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Providence Village announce new board member, first tenant at Motherhouse

Taking steps towards the vision of the Sisters of Providence to create a central hub of community service organizations, Providence Village Incorporated (PVI) made two announcements that will help the Village move closer to meeting its goals.

PVI announced that Bhavana Varma has joined the organization as its’ seventh board member, attending her first board meeting on April 17.

Varma has served as the President and CEO of United Way KFL&A for 24 years, but in February announced she’d be stepping down from that role in August.

In a media release, Varma says she’s excited to become a part of achieving the vision laid out by the Sisters of Providence and feels that the work ahead can make a significant difference on the community.

“I am honoured to be invited to be a part of this exciting initiative that will have such a positive impact and I look forward to working with this wonderful Board and staff team,” Varma said.

PVI President and CEO Laurie French said Varma’s mix of generosity and expertise will make her a valuable addition to the board.

She says there was no specific target for the board seat but conversations with Varma made it clear she was a good choice.

“This really came out of a series of conversations, there wasn’t a specific target,” French said.

“It really was about that fit for someone who had the time to work at a governance level… she brings that skill set.”

Providence Village also announced on Monday afternoon that they will soon welcome Alzheimer’s Kingston as the next tenant in the Motherhouse.

The organization that provides services and aims to enhance the quality of life for people living with Alzheimer’s or dementia and their families takes hold of the space on May 1st.

There will be some leasehold improvements to get the space totally ready, but they expect to be up and running in the Motherhouse as of July 2.

Vicki Poffley, Executive Director of Alzheimer’s Kingston, said they moved into their current space in 2014 and “almost immediately” outgrew it.

The move to Providence Village will nearly double their space, and allow Alzheimer’s Kingston to rely significantly less on finding available spaces throughout the city.

“It’s going to allow us to move a lot of our programs on site,” Poffley said.

“It’s a beautiful location, there’s a lot of green space… we don’t have that capability in our current space.”

Poffley says they’ll continue to work with some community partners along with opening up services on site, expanding their overall reach and ability to provide care in the community.

During the pandemic, Poffley says some of the services available to those living with Alzheimer’s and their care partners disappeared, and this will help to reintroduce a lot more in person and group activities.

PVI CEO Laurie French says PVI has long been in touch with Alzheimer’s Kingston who were eager to occupy the space, but that they too felt it was time to resurrect pre-COVID partnerships and have the community hub start to take shape.

While Alzheimer’s Kingston is the first, Providence Village says conversations with other potential partners continue and the organization hopes to welcome more partners to the space in the near future.

“We are very excited that the Alzheimer’s Society is the first one, but this is the first of many I hope,” French said.

Turning Providence Village into the community hub the Sisters have envisioned will be an incremental project however, as about 60 Sisters of Providence still live on site.

It will be a balancing act going forward to make the most efficient use of the space that is available.

“So this is an important first step for us and a first tenant in one part of the building,” French said.

“But there are many other parts of the building that are not available because of course this is first and foremost the sister’s home for as long as they will be here. So it’s very much an incremental project where we’re balancing the interest of partners, the space that’s available, and how that complements the sister’s own living space to be able to develop the community hub.”

More information about Providence Village and its ongoing projects can be found here.

Owen Fullerton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Owen Fullerton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporterhttp://ygknews.ca
Born and raised in Whitby, Ontario, Owen has been living in Kingston for about three years after starting the band Willy Nilly. Prior to that he worked at CKLB radio in Yellowknife and completed studies in Niagara College's Broadcasting program.

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