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Province announces new funding for youth peer support services

B.C. Foundry is getting a $16.2-million grant from the B.C. government to expand youth peer support services in centres across the province.

The centres offer mental-health and substance-use support, physical and sexual health care, youth and family peer support services and social services to young people aged 12 to 24.

“When young people make the courageous decision to reach out for help, we need services to meet them,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions in a release.

“Peer support workers are a critical component of the services Foundry provides. This grant will help youth get the services they need and deserve, as we continue to open more Foundry centres across the province in the months to come.”

There are currently 14 Foundry community centres in B.C., but that will be expanded to 23 including one based in the East Kootenay.

The services also help youth overcome employment barriers and increase career entry points.

“This program helps meet not only the rising demand for youth wellness services, but also provides more opportunities for youth facing barriers to move into stable careers,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills in a release.

Provincial officials said the funding will add 76 new full-time peer support service positions.

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