If Maj. Glenn Patey’s plans come to fruition the Prince Albert Salvation Army will undergo its most significant expansion in 121 years.
© Herald photo by Tyler Clarke
Prince Albert Salvation Army Maj. Glenn Patey is seen outside of their downtown-based family services and thrift store building, which he hopes to see torn down and rebuilt as a three or four-storey building that would accommodate more services to those in the community living with the greatest need.
He’s currently compiling a comprehensive report for the regional board in Winnipeg he plans on presenting to them as early as October.
“When I say it’s Glenn Patey’s vision, it has to be a broader Salvation Army vision,” he explained while going through his wish list. “But, they’re looking for that kind of idea -- what are next steps for Salvation Army in Prince Albert? What are the next steps in providing human services?”
There are many facets to Patey’s vision for the Salvation Army’s future in Prince Albert -- an ambitious plan that would begin from the ground up, with their current downtown facility torn down and replaced by a three or four-storey structure.
“As a result of a new building here, we’re also looking at property in east P.A. and west P.A. to have a smaller thrift store and family services where we provide meals in the east and west end,” he said, citing “the flats” as ideal locations for these satellite centres.
“A lot of the people who live in the east and west ends don’t have access to services in their immediate neighbourhood,” he explained.
The three or four-storey central building located on Central Avenue would service the satellite centres, as well as provide a plethora of additional programs the organization currently doesn’t have the space to offer.
Within Patey’s wish list is a 24-hour children’s care centre that would take in children on an emergency basis. He also hopes to see subsidized senior housing to meet a growing need in the area, and a larger kitchen.
The kitchen would serve as a training facility, where people who have been out of the job market for long periods of time could be eased back into the swing of things.
Additional vocational training would come as a result of an attached boardroom, where groups could rent a 50-seat catered room for a fee, Patey said.
“They’re in turn helping these people know how to prepare a meal, provide catering service and things like that,” he explained.
Similar vocational programs have proven successful in Toronto and Vancouver, Patey said, noting that while Prince Albert is obviously drastically different, something similar might work on a much smaller scale.
The local Salvation Army already employs inmates, who use their time at the thrift shop and kitchen learning job skills as part of their exit strategy.
It’s a well-needed boost, Patey said, noting that some of their incarcerated employees have been out of the job market for decades and need an easing-in process.
When I say it’s Glenn Patey’s vision, it has to be a broader Salvation Army vision. But, they’re looking for that kind of idea -- what are next steps for Salvation Army in Prince Albert? What are the next steps in providing human services? Maj. Glenn Patey
The key goal behind such vocational efforts is to “maybe provide that hope and desire in people’s hearts to change and make life more bearable to themselves,” Patey said.
The specifics of various other programs and services that would be offered at the three or four-storey building are still being hashed out, all with the underlying goal of helping those in need.
Patey has a handful of additional hopes for the Salvation Army’s future, including the addition of a Sunday meal in downtown Prince Albert. Between the Salvation Army, Share-A-Meal Food Bank and Soup on Saturday church program, there are currently meals Monday through Saturday, leaving those without the means hungry on Sundays.
The Salvation Army is also keeping their plans for a federal custodial facility on the front burner.
The facility -- transitional housing for recent parolees -- was met with mainly opposition from city council earlier this year, aside from outspoken support from Coun. Mark Tweidt.
The Salvation Army has continued discussions with the city, and the item should appear on council’s agenda for consideration in the near future, Patey said.
Within all of the Salvation Army’s efforts in Prince Albert is the belief that everyone is redeemable, Patey said.
“There are all kinds of people that need Salvation Army services, or human services no matter who provides it,” he said.
“There is an element of people that find life difficult. They find life miserable. It may be because of their own doing. It may be because of upbringing. It might be because of mental health issues.
“Somebody has to care for these people. Somebody has to look after them -- somebody has to support them and help them, and the Salvation Army has been doing that in Prince Albert for 121 years.”
Patey’s ambitious plans for the Salvation Army’s future in Prince Albert are more than just a heads-in-the-clouds dream, he said, noting that he’s “done a lot of homework … This is actually looking into hardcore figures.”
He’s already looked into facilities for the Salvation Army to move into on a temporary basis during the estimated year-long tearing down and construction process of a new building.
The Daily Herald will follow up with Patey to find out how his presentation to Winnipeg’s regional board is received.