Aylmer Community Services celebrates grand opening

Exterior of Alymer Community Services on Talbot Street in London. CREDIT: AYLMER COMMUNITY SERVICES
Alymer Community Services' new location at 20 Talbot St. E.

After a COVID-delayed grand opening, Aylmer Community Services (ACS) is ready to serve Elgin County with its wide range of community focused services.

After a move to its new location at 20 Talbot St. E. during COVID lockdowns, the grand opening took place on Aug. 3.

“I’m just so happy to be able to be here physically,” Fanshawe Career and Employment Services manager John Griffiths said.

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“Seeing people physically, seeing the community members coming in and visiting us, having that open house was all really special for me.”

Griffiths added that watching people being able to reconnect in person has been “wonderful,” seeing the opening as a sign things are returning to what many hope will be a more normal time.

ACS is a partnership between Mennonite Community Services, YWCA St. Thomas-Elgin, Fanshawe Career and Employment Services, and St. Thomas-Elgin Social Services. Services provided include settlement services, employment services, as well as coordinating with the St. Thomas campus to provide courses at the college.

The Employment Ontario initiative received funding from both provincial and federal governments in order to get the project off the ground.

The 10-year partnership between ACS, Fanshawe, and the other three partners has allowed the college to not only strengthen ties to the Aylmer community, but also provide better services to the people who live there.

“So as a college, we’re able to provide more effective services in Aylmer, because of the trusting relationships and the partnerships, and the reputation of our partners, and because of their connections to the community.”

Speaking on how these partnerships benefit Fanshawe, Griffiths provided an example on how working with the Mennonite Community Services improved a Fanshawe program and benefited a recently opened long-term care home.

“Through them we made some kind of minor, but really valuable changes to the [Personal Support Worker] curriculum. We were able to graduate a cohort of fully trained personal support workers right here in Aylmer for that care home,” Griffiths said.

“The success of that initiative was a direct result of Fanshawe College and Mennonite Community Services working together really closely after years of partnership and knowing each other and trusting each other’s skills.”

ACS’s goal is to make Fanshawe students belong, regardless of the community they’re in or where they’re from. As Griffiths put it, “everybody and anybody is a Fanshawe student.”

“[This partnership] also helps us to build curriculums and programs that are inclusive from a learning and from a learning outcomes perspective, because our curriculums are also designed to train people to work within an inclusive, diverse workplace.”

Aylmer Community Services is open to anyone seeking help with employment from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m on Monday, Thursday, and Friday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday.