Mental health care centers are rallying for a new accessible van to elevate the experience for residents in the Tri-Cities

Mental health care centers are rallying for a new accessible van to elevate the experience for residents in the Tri-Cities

Eagle Ridge Hospital Foundation highlights the transformative impact of community outings and seeks community support to reach fundraising goal

Cottonwood, Connolly and Cypress Lodges have launched a fundraising campaign with a goal of raising $260,000 to purchase a 2022 RAM wheelchair accessible van.

The new vehicle will improve the quality of life for 64 residents with chronic mental illnesses.

“The new vehicle will provide the opportunity for more residents to participate in outings on a more consistent basis. Not only will the increased seating capacity allow for more passengers on each outing, but the accessibility will provide an opportunity for residents with disabilities,” says Christina Chung, interim executive director of the Eagle Ridge Hospital Foundation. Limited ability to move.

“Community integration is an important aspect of a resident’s recovery journey. Often, when residents go out into the community, even for a simple cup of coffee, they express feelings of enjoyment, contentment and peace. There are countless benefits from community integration outings – promoting social inclusion Reducing psychological stress and increasing the sense of belonging.

The current vehicle servicing these lodges, part of the Riverview redevelopment project by Fraser Health, is not only outdated but lacks basic features. It raises safety concerns and its limited seating capacity severely reduces the number of residents who can participate in community activities. Furthermore, its lack of wheelchair accessibility excludes people with mobility challenges, depriving them of opportunities for recreation and community engagement.

“Residents need access to community health care providers, recreation centers and other community resources, and with the current limited vehicle capacity, the number of residents who can access the community regularly is affected,” says Chung.

The new truck promises a major upgrade. It will be equipped to accommodate 10 passengers and accommodate two wheelchairs. Beyond just a transportation upgrade, the truck symbolizes inclusivity and a commitment to holistic care.

“The expectation of continued flights will provide residents with a sense of hope and something to look forward to,” says Chung.

The old car’s problems don’t stop at limited seating. Its frequent need for repairs has led to inconsistent availability. Residents, especially seniors at Connolly Lodge, find it difficult to get into or out of their current vehicle and, at times, unsafe.

Staff at the hostel have consistently noted the therapeutic effect of community outings on residents. For many, these trips provide a break from the routine, a touch of normalcy, and a reminder of the outside world.

“By creating positive, meaningful memories for residents, a sense of inclusion and belonging in the community will impact other aspects of their lives. Feelings of accomplishment and pride in progress in recovery and rehabilitation will provide improved self-esteem and confidence, which are key factors when living with “Mental illness.”

The new van is a step towards ensuring that every resident, regardless of physical ability, feels valued, included and heard.

The lodge invites the community to provide support towards its fundraising goal. The mission is clear: a vehicle that promises not only transportation, but a brighter, more inclusive future for its residents.

To make a contribution today, visit

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