Residents Asked to Show Support for Northumberland Backyard Project

Residents Asked to Show Support for Northumberland Backyard Project

Go Online to Share Stories and Support for Funding Application Towards Outdoor Accessible Space

Photo showing Five Counties and EarlyON staff promoting support for backyard project in Northumberland.COBOURG, ON (November 10, 2022) – It’s said, ‘if you build it, they will come,’ but for this field of dreams, securing funds to see it become a reality is the first step in laying the groundwork.

That’s where the help of area residents is needed to support the Northumberland Backyard Project. Between now and Tuesday (Nov. 15), people are being asked to support an online funding application that would plant the roots for the project. The Northumberland Backyard Project would see an unused piece of land behind Five Counties Children’s Centre in Cobourg transformed into a safe, fully accessible backyard green space available for treatment, recreation, cultural awareness, and outdoor education programming in Northumberland County.

Show your support for Northumberland Backyard Project banner
The Northumberland Backyard Project is being spearhead by Five Counties Children’s Centre, in partnership with the County of Northumberland, Nogojiwanong Friendship Centre, YMCA Northumberland, and the local EarlyON Child and Family Centre. All the agencies see the space being a boost to their own programs and services, as well as to the broader community.

The partners have applied to Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group for nearly $50,000 in funding to help with the first phase of the Northumberland Backyard Project. Commonwell’s LEAF (Learning and Engagement Accelerator Fund) provides grants for community projects that promote learning and capacity improvements. Part of the funding approval is based on community support for a project, and that’s where local residents are being asked to play a part. People can visit the Commonwell website and lend a word of support about why the project matters to their community. It can involve writing a short story, uploading a photo, leaving an encouraging comment or spreading the word on social media. All notes of support must be posted by Tuesday.

“We know there is a long-term need for this type of accessible backyard green space in Northumberland County, so we encourage everyone in coming days to show your support online and spread the word to neighbours and friends,” says Scott Pepin, CEO of Five Counties Children’s Centre.

At present, the 25,200-square-foot parcel of property behind the Five Counties’ Northumberland site on 800 Division Street in Cobourg can’t be used. There are safety and accessibility issues from a nearby drainage ditch and traffic from an adjacent driveway and parking lot. The vision is to put up fencing and install an accessible playground, sensory play equipment, accessible garden area, gazebo, storage space and eventually a track.

The space could then be available to clients, families and visitors of Five Counties, the EarlyON Centre, the Nogojiwanong Friendship Centre, and other community program providers. No timeline is set for completing the Northumberland Backyard Project. To date, Five Counties and its partners have secured approximately 40 per cent of funding for the project’s $255,000 estimated cost.

The investment is well worth it, as demonstrated by a similar Backyard Project completed approximately two years ago at the Five Counties site in Peterborough.

“As we’ve seen in Peterborough, the proposed accessible playground and natural enhancements to the outdoor space at our Northumberland site will have countless benefits to the children and youth who receive therapy services at the centre, as well as other families and community members across the county,” Pepin notes. “Once realized, the Northumberland Backyard Project would be a space which offers inclusion by natural design, creating a place for children with and without disabilities to play easily and build friendships.”

“We are extremely grateful to our partner agencies in seeing the value of the Northumberland Backyard Project for all kids and families and helping us to secure funding that will be needed to turn our field of dreams into a viable and valuable outdoor space for the entire community,” adds Lyn Giles, Director of Fund Development with Five Counties. “We are also very appreciative of the donors who have already committed funds to the backyard project as we continue on the road to a successful completion.”

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 For media inquiries, contact:

Bill Eekhof, Communications Coordinator, Five Counties Children’s Centre, 705-875-7408, or 1-888-779-9916, ext. 200, beekhof@fivecounties.on.ca

Category: General News