Once upon a time in the quaint village of Clarksburg, Ontario, a group of community-minded individuals working out of the basement of a house distributed warm clothing and hampers at Christmastime to people in need, and secured donations from the community.

Like many community organizations, Beaver Valley Outreach grew from humble beginnings. Today, thirtyfour years later, the renowned and well-loved social services organization is embarking on an exciting new chapter in its history with the recent purchase of the former Piper’s building on King Street in Thornbury. The new location will give volunteers, staff and the community a fully-accessible, efficient and functional space from which to continue “making good things happen in our community” for years to come.

BVO’s current location, the former fire hall at 64 Bruce St. South, was purchased by the organization in 2001. Since that time, BVO has been continually evolving organically in order to fill the gaps in social services in The Blue Mountains.

Despite three renovations of the Bruce Street location to help improve efficiencies, BVO “ran out of band-aids”. Three years ago, as part of its Strategic Plan, a Space Committee was created to look into long-term solutions to the organization’s space, accessibility and efficiency issues, with feedback from volunteers, staff, customers and partners.

In March, 2017, after careful consideration of options available to address these issues, BVO seized the opportunity to purchase the former Piper’s building. “Our decision to purchase the new property was the result of due diligence in obtaining feedback from our volunteers, staff, customers and partners,” says BVO Chair Cathy Innes, adding that the purchase was unanimously approved by BVO’s Board and enthusiastically supported by the organization’s volunteers, members, the Town of The Blue Mountains and the community. “Rather than an expansion, the new location is an improvement in efficiencies, giving us a clean, functional and accessible building in which we can do what we do, better.”

BVO’s new location offers many benefits, including ground-level accessibility, more parking space, a more functional retail/sorting space for the Treasure Shop, meeting space for volunteers, staff and clients, confidential offices and on-site storage. To finance the purchase, BVO secured a bank mortgage and recently sold its current Bruce Street property (owned by the organization and mortgage-free).

“We have always been a financially responsible organization,” says BVO Executive Director Carolyn Letourneau. “BVO has a unique funding formula where all of our administration costs are covered thanks to a steady revenue stream from the Treasure Shop, made possible through the generosity of the community.”

While the sale of BVO’s Bruce Street location will help to pay down its new property mortgage considerably, the organization needs to raise funds in order to move forward with planned renovations of its new building. With plans to move in early spring 2018, BVO is reaching out to the community for donations to its Relocation Fund.

“Thanks to the generosity of local real estate agents Stan and Janet Reljic of Century 21 Millennium and Andres Paara, Nicole Paara and Karen Willison of Royal LePage Locations North, who donated a combined $29,000 towards our relocation, we’re off to a great start,” says Carolyn Letourneau. “We are extremely grateful for their generous contributions and for the support of the community over the years.”

“This is such an exciting move for the organization. We are thrilled about the increased accessibility and the added convenience that customers and visitors will experience,” adds Letourneau. “The new location offers us sustainability and a more efficient space that will allow us to continue making good things happen in our community. I am confident that it will be the best place for BVO forever, and encourage Blue Mountains residents to help us raise funds for this very important transition.“

To donate to BVO’s Relocation Fund, please call 519-599-2577 ext. 21 or visit bvo.ca A charitable receipt will be issued for donations over $20.00.