Flooded neighborhood house gets helping hand from nearby church

Locals play ping-pong and bridge at St. Augustine's Anglican Church since the flood of the Marpole Place Neighbourhood House. Photo by Erin Boe
Locals play ping-pong and bridge at St. Augustine’s Anglican Church since the flood of the Marpole Place Neighbourhood House.
Photo by Erin Boe

The Marpole Place Neighbourhood House needs more volunteers to help run its programs after a December flood forced them to start working out of a nearby church.

The flooded neighbourhood house, at 1305 West 70th Ave., was closed after a sprinkler burst in its third floor ceiling on the weekend of Dec. 7.

Waiting for repairs

“The damages were significant and so use of the building is not possible until repairs are done,” executive director Cindy McMillan said in an email.

The City of Vancouver, which owns the house, has estimated repairs will take four to six months.

Church donates space

The neighbourhood house’s temporary location is nearby at St. Augustine’s Anglican Church.

“The church has been very generous both with their space and with the cost using their space,” said McMillan. The challenge for the house is that all of the activities take place in the hall, and sometimes simultaneously, so it can be a bit noisy for some participants, she said.

McMillan and Jessica Fiddler, program assistant and volunteer coordinator for the neighbourhood house, are the only two paid staff.

“I used to be full-time, but I’m only part-time because of the flood,” Fiddler said.

She manages the space, but participants are the ones who run programs and handle equipment.

“[The house is] a volunteer- and community-driven space,” Fiddler said.

Volunteers needed

The neighbourhood house is looking for more volunteers to help run the reception, take flyers out to the community, help clean the kitchen following community meals and to be a bilingual (Cantonese or Mandarin) mentor for one or two of the computer labs.

Fiddler is also hoping to bring in student volunteers and said Langara students are welcome to contact her if they are interested.

Reported by Erin Boe

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