“Wellspring finds home in Pelham” — Tribune

By Maryanne Firth, The Tribune
Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wellspring Niagara executive director Ann Mantini-Celima, left, and Pelham Mayor Dave Augustyn, right, sign a memorandum of understanding between the two organizations during Monday's town council meeting. Pelham plans to lease two acres of land to Wellspring for a new cancer support centre.

Wellspring Niagara executive director Ann Mantini-Celima, left, and Pelham Mayor Dave Augustyn, right, sign a memorandum of understanding between the two organizations during Monday’s town council meeting. Pelham plans to lease two acres of land to Wellspring for a new cancer support centre.

When Wellspring Niagara moved into a Thorold plaza in 2001, its stay was to be temporary.

Now, 13 years later, the organization has finally found a permanent home.

Town of Pelham has agreed to work with Wellspring to create a regional cancer support centre on two acres of land along Rice Rd. at Regional Rd. 20.

A memorandum of understanding, which provides the framework for the partnership, was signed at Monday’s town council meeting.

Pelham will lease the land to Wellspring for $1 a year. The lease will continue indefinitely or until Wellspring ceases to operate.

“We want to, in essence, donate use of the land for as long as they need it,” said Mayor Dave Augustyn.

“It’s important for Pelham and for Niagara region that this service has a new home. Wellspring provides so much support for individuals and families that have been devastated by cancer.”

In 2013, Wellspring served 506 men, women and children.

The new cancer support centre will be part of the east Fonthill development and is expected to complement the anticipated medical complex and retirement community to be built in the same area, Augustyn said.

“This is something we’ve been working toward for a very long time,” Wellspring executive director Ann Mantini-Celima said of finding the organization a new and permanent home.

“We just needed to identify the right location and this one couldn’t be better.”

The land offered by Pelham is centrally located in Niagara, which is key for Wellspring to support its members throughout the region.

A new and more spacious facility — increased to 7,000 square feet from 2,000 square feet at the Thorold office — will allow the organization to better meet the needs of Niagarans, Mantini-Celima said.

The extra room will allow for social and quiet spaces to be created for different programs so they don’t interfere with one another.

Additional room outdoors will allow for ample parking, as well as green space that members can use during programming.

“It will be a place of hope and healing,” Mantini-Celima said.

“We’re grateful for the generous gift and for (Pelham council) believing in what we do. It means a great deal to our organization and our members who use our facility.”

Wellspring plans to launch a capital campaign sometime this fall to help support the build.

maryanne.firth@sunmedia.ca