Two community agencies to merge

Cooperative to set up by Sooke's CASA and Sooke Community Health Initiative

Two community agencies have made a decision to merge into one cooperative. The Sooke Community Association of Service Agencies (CASA) and Sooke Region Community Health Initiative (CHI) have many of the same values and assets and forming a cooperative would enhance awareness of both groups in the community.

“We are hoping to achieve a new cooperative,” said Mitzi Dean, executive director of Pacific Centre Family Services for the Sooke region. “It will enhance awareness in the community, alleviate confusion… and benefit the community with the values and principles of both.”

She said both agencies want to maximize the capacity (people power) they have and to make sure they are really strong to ensure they are sustainable. They already share many of the same goals. The aim is to improve the health and well-being of people living in communities that extend from Beecher Bay to Port Renfrew.

CASA, was established with the mission “to develop and operate a child, youth and family services centre from which our members deliver health, education, poverty relief and other charitable services to the people of the Sooke region.” With $2.5 million from the Queen Alexandra Foundation for Children, CASA built the centre at 2145 Townsend Road, most often referred to as CASA. CASA is the governing body for member agencies with offices in the building.

CHI, established in 2003 by a broad partnership of citizens and local professionals with a keen interest in supporting development of healthy and livable communities in the region through assessing and addressing disparities in the social detriments of health.

The two agencies have collaborated on a regular basis over the years.

Dean said they invite community interest in the proposed merger and welcome any questions. A volunteer consultant will be assisting with the merger process.

Mitzi Dean or Linda Nehra can be reached at 250-478-8357.