2019 has been a challenging year for Avalon. For many years, non-profit organizations in our community haven’t been resourced to meet people’s needs for these services: fundamental social, health and mental health services. There is still a great imbalance in how society values particular activities and work, with results such as the common belief that the under-resourcing of social and community-based services is unavoidable, even while other sectors are amply resourced. For those needing service, and for those trying to provide it, it is discouraging to see that there are, indeed, resources, but that those continue to be allocated in ways that don’t completely address issues vital to communities’ well-being.

At Avalon, the longstanding mismatch between community need and resources allocated to that need has created unsustainable conditions. We have had to re-imagine how we can provide service safely and ethically, with the resources that are available, and within the systems and partnerships that have evolved to provide healing services and supports. We believe that our contribution to that overall framework of services and supports is important, but we also know that it is very limited. The changes we can make to protect safe and ethical service at Avalon won’t solve the whole problem of unmet needs. While continuing to provide intervention services through SANE and the Therapeutic Counselling Program, we need to prioritize prevention, in order to reduce the volume of need. We will also continue to advocate for allocation of social resources that better matches need. But there are limits on the change we are able to create. We cannot create change alone.

We are inspired by the abilities and outlooks our new board brings to guiding the Centre through this thinking. We are grateful for the patience and understanding our community holds as we work with those who had been waiting for service. We are energized by the caring support that grows around us as we map out sustainable paths to restoring more service. We look forward to working with partners on new ways to improve service delivery.