In the fall of 1989, seventeen staff opened the doors to London’s first community health centre. Led by Shanthi Radcliffe, Executive Director, and Dr. Douglas Bocking, Board Chair, they provided sensitive and equitable health services for the city’s most vulnerable. In its first year, the London InterCommunity Health Centre served more than 1500 clients, while offering community programming, health promotion and education focused on the needs of immigrant women and seniors.
The milestones achieved since are a testament to the passion and commitment of the community, volunteers and staff who have shaped our Health Centre. The accomplishments we celebrate include:
- the opening of Options, an anonymous HIV testing clinic
- the expansion of our services to support people who are homeless
- the addition of a Youth Outreach Worker team supporting at-risk youth in the city’s north east
- an innovative WrapAround program supporting isolated immigrant and francophone seniors
Today, we have a staff of more than 70 – as passionate and committed now as those who first opened our doors. Together they make 27,000 clients contacts each year and care for 3,700 individuals through our medical clinics. Bursting the seams of our original home at 659 Dundas Street, we expanded into a second location at Huron and Highbury in 2007.
Like all organizations, we face unique challenges and opportunities in the coming years. London has been impacted significantly by the world-wide economic downturn. Those who already lived in poverty now have fewer resources. Changes to the local mental health care system resulted in more roadblocks – and more stress – for clients and their families. Refugees and immigrants continue to face barriers to employment and social inclusion. All of these challenges – poverty, health system access issues and transitions such as immigration – radically affect the health and ability to live well for so many in our community.
We are very fortunate to benefit from partnerships with dozens of community agencies, hundreds of committed volunteers, and a strong relationship with our funders at the South West Local Health Integration Network. These partnerships have resulted in – and will continue to result in – the ongoing development of new programs designed to meet the unique needs of the vulnerable populations we serve.