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New drop-in centre for families with young children to open in Timmins area

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Cochrane Social Services is opening an Early ON centre in the eastern end of Timmins. The new service will be for families with young children, from newborns to six years old.

It will operate from the Spruce Hill Lodge Retirement Home. As of Sept. 1, it will be open five to six days a week. Officials said they are following an Icelandic model.

“There's a lot of benefits not only for the residents at Spruce Hill Lodge to … partake in a lot of some of the activities that we offer,” said Shannon Costello, director of Children’s Services at Cochrane District Social Services.

“There's also opportunity for area high school students to have placement and volunteer opportunities there ... We're going to try and mingle all generations in one spot to better get to know each other.”

The decision comes after a total review of how childcare spaces are licensed in the district. Cochrane Social Services said the new Early ON location means the one at the YMCA of Timmins will be turned into a preschool space.

“The YMCA is … actually going to need to be hiring additional staff to in order in order to open up those preschool spaces again,” said Costello.

Neither YMCA nor Spruce Hill Lodge officials were available for interviews Monday.

Early ON programming will continue at two other locations in Timmins, including the Timmins Native Friendship Centre and in the North Eastern Ontario Family and Children’s Services.

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