Prairie Oasis Senior Centre in Brandon shutting its doors

By: Harry Callaghan
Posted: June 30, 2022 18:04

Centre's director cites a lack of funding to continue operations and pay staff as reasons

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Brandon's Prairie Oasis Senior Centre located on 8th Street is closing is doors for good. 

Prairie Oasis Executive Director Amanda Fast says the Board of Directors met on June 28 to discuss the future of the centre, and after analyzing programing, activities, and financial standings, decided to dissolve the business as of July 22nd.

Staff have been given lay-off notices, which will come into effect July 22, 2022 (at the end of work day), and the operations of Meals on Wheels and other programming will cease July 15, 2022.

Fast says ending Meals on Wheels will be a blow to clients who've relied on the daily meal service. "It's very unfortunate because I know there were not just seniors relying on Meals on Wheels, but there were individuals within the community who were blind, or living with a disability and it was a huge grace for them."

She says Meals on Wheels was sending out about 400 meals a week - the food went out daily and it was a hot meal. She says they've been advising people to contact Seniors for Seniors to sign up for their meal program called 'Dinner is Served', which delivers meals on Fridays.

Fast says "these are fresh meals, not frozen, but they're not hot like the Meals on Wheels ones were," adding "this is now the city's only other option."

Prairie Oasis Senior Centre had been operating for over 40 years in Brandon, and Fast says everyone in the organiztion is truly saddened the centre has been forced to close its doors. She says this is why it's so important that residents in the city support local non-profits and other businesses in Brandon.

"As inflation is going up, obviously we were the next one to go down," says Fast. "A little while ago, Meredith Place had to close their doors and then the  'Everyone Eats Brandon' program, which much like us now, could not find the funding for daily operations and wages and the doors had to close."

Meredith Place on 11th Street provided "21 individual transitional rooms for people who experienced a variety of concerns withing their personal life with homelessness, or transitioning from living at home with parents or other living situations," said its Executive Director Heather Symbalisty in an interview in January. 'Everyone Eats' mission "was to provide top quality, nutritionally balanced meals at a price point that everyone can afford so that there are no barriers to good food." It operated in conjunction with the Prairie Oasis Senior Centre.

Manitoba Housing owns the Prairie Oasis building, and Fast says as of yet, no decisions have been made on the future of the space.

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