Founded by a group of women from qathet Region, Powell River Employment Program (PREP) Society incorporated as a non-profit society in 1984.
One of the organization’s first services was Work Opportunities for Women (WOW), a program to increase employment supports and opportunities for women in the region. Other programs at this time included:
- Summer day camp for children living in rural areas
- Mental health day program
- Forestry job development project
- Oyster mushroom farm pilot project
In 1995, PREP received funding to run the national prenatal nutrition program, Babies Open New Doors (BOND) in qathet Region.
The now long-running program offers expectant and new parents with identified lifestyle risks nutrition and food supports, baby supplies, information and referrals, and social connections. We continue to run this program today. Visit the program page to learn more.
In 2000/01, a community-wide needs assessment regarding establishing a family place/family resource centre was conducted prior to securing funding for a family place pilot project. Out of this work came the Family Place Resource Centre, which first launched as a pilot project in 2004 and, almost 20 years later, continues to run in our location in the Town Centre Mall.
The Family Place Resource Centre is a hub for young parents and families. We offer drop-in social time, educational workshops and group events, food and nutrition resources, and community referrals and supports. Visit the program page to learn more.
PREP launched the Powell River Anti-racism and Multicultural Initiative (PRAMI) in 2005. This program was renamed in the Powell River Diversity Initiative (PRDI) in 2008. PRDI ran programming including diversity workshops, community roundtables, and qathet Region’s Safe Harbour program.
In 2020, the group was renamed once more to the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiative. This ongoing initiative supports local diversity, equity, and inclusion events in the community and has, for example, co-hosted several cultural learning days in collaboration with Tla’amin Nation.
Our Literacy programs first kicked off with the formation of the Powell River Literacy Council, and Community Adult Literacy & Learning in 2005. These programs evolved into our current Literacy Outreach program, which encompasses a whole range of literacy supports for adults and seniors in qathet Region. Visit our program page to learn more.
Our Community Resource Centre also first opened its doors in 2007. Located on Joyce Ave., the Community Resource Centre, or CRC continues to serve as a community hub and welcoming space for all adults in qathet, while offering housing, legal, health and food security supports. Visit our program page to learn more.
PREP opened qathet Region’s first immigrant services program. The Immigrant Welcome Centre provides documentation, English Language, social and cultural support to immigrants to Canada and supports close to 200 individuals each year. Click here to learn more about our immigrant services.
Since 2013, the Family Place Resource Centre has partnered with the B.C. Association of Farmers Market and the Powell River Farmers Market to administer the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program for the qathet Region.
Our family support programs provide the coupons to local young families who need help with food costs. The coupons act like cash and can be redeemed at the Powell River open air famers market, allowing young families to purchase vegetables, fruits, eggs, dairy, honey, and meat from local farmers.
In 2022 we provided 55 families with $27 of coupons every week from June – September.
SUSTAIN (Substance Users Society Teaching Advocacy Instead of Neglect) was founded in 2016 by a group of substance users with PREP’s Community Development Program providing administrative support. SUSTAIN is a peer-based group that meets on a weekly basis to talk about issues faced by people who use drugs, and collectively works to solve the issues and decrease stigma.
This program started with six or so participants each week; there are now have more than 20 people attending the weekly meetings on a regular basis.
In 2018 it was announced that Career Link, the provincial government’s employment support program, would be re-launched as WorkBC. We continue to deliver provincial employment services in the qathet Region with WorkBC.
Also in 2018, we helped form the Powell River Community Action Team (CAT) to address local toxic drug and overdose response with community-decision makers, leading to the development of qathet Region’s Overdose Prevention Site. Visit the qathet Community Action Team’s website for more information.
In 2019, PREP was renamed as Lift Community Services of qathet Society. This name change was intended to reflect the growing range of our services and programs, and really get to the heart of what we hope to do – lift our community up, no matter the barrier someone is facing.
In addition to rebranding, in 2019 we:
- Opened our supportive housing building on the corner of Joyce and Harvie in December, providing 42 new units of housing to our community
- Worked with the qathet Community Action Team to launch qathet Region’s first Overdose Prevention Site, in response to a worsening overdose crisis and toxic drug supply, and
- Grew our Community Development Program and began offering organizational sponsorship to emerging local non-profits, like qathet Community Justice, and Trans qathet.
We partnered with the Province of B.C., and Vancouver Coastal Health to pilot the Healthy Care Pregnancy Program, which supports people who are considered at risk of poor health outcomes for themselves and their baby. The success of this program enabled it to transition from a pilot to a core program. Visit our program page to learn more.
As the housing crisis and lack of affordable rental housing became increasingly apparent in the region, we applied for and received funding from BC Housing for an emergency winter shelter. Our funding was extended in 2023 so that we are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We temporarily house up to 20 individuals every night, and support them in finding permanent housing.
Also in 2021, our harm reduction and overdose response services expanded, and we launched the province’s first rural injectable opioid agonist (iOAT) clinic.
In partnership with Tla’amin Nation and Vancouver Coastal Health, we are working with the Province of BC to bring Complex Care Housing to qathet Region. While not providing any additional housing, this program will provide a team of nurses, social and outreach workers, occupational therapists and other health professions for outreach and in-home support to many of our community’s most marginalized individuals. Stay tuned as this project launches.