Ontario Supporting Children and Youth by Funding A Field of Dreams at Five Counties Children’s Centre

In Local

Left to Right: CEO of Five Counties Children’s Centre Scott Pepin, OTF Representative Elaine Sheppard, MPP David Piccini, Partner Leslie Patterson, & Mayor of Cobourg Lucas Cleveland.

Funding to create an accessible, inclusive, and safe place to learn and grow

It’s been called a field of dreams, but new investments that total $396,100 from the Government of Ontario and the Ontario Trillium Foundation are helping lay the groundwork to transform the Northumberland Backyard Project into a new reality. The project being spearheaded by Five Counties Children’s Centre and its partners would see the backyard area at the Centre’s location (800 Division St.) in Cobourg turned into a safe, fully-accessible outdoor area that provides more space and options for treatment, recreation, cultural awareness and outdoor education programs.

“We are making it easier for families across Ontario to find services that children may need to assist their development by supporting initiatives like the Backyard Project” said MPP David Piccini. “I am proud our government is investing in Five Counties Children’s Centre to ensure our community receives the services and upgrades it needs to succeed.”

The first Capital grant is from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, which is providing $255,100 to revamp and expand the parking lot at Five Counties to accommodate more families accessing services at the Centre and neighbouring EarlyON site. The second Capital grant of $141,000 from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) will go directly to towards the building of the accessible track and other play features that will benefit kids of all ages and abilities.

The funding through the Capital Grant (MCCSS) contributed for upgrades and repairs to children’s and social services facilities in Northumberland as part of the government’s $21 million investment this year. This funding is to ensure that 158 children’s and social services agencies across the province continue to connect people to support at safe and accessible facilities.

This year, 627 projects across the province are being funded so that community agencies can complete repairs and upgrades on projects such as improving accessibility and creating a more inclusive environment.

While the initial grading, drainage, landscaping, and fencing were done this summer and fall, these two new provincial grants will help push the backyard project to completion in 2024.

Five Counties, in partnership with the County of Northumberland, Nogojiwanong Friendship Centre, YMCA Northumberland, and the local EarlyON Child and Family Centre, welcome the new provincial funding for the backyard. Once completed, the backyard will include an accessible playground, sensory play equipment, garden area, gazebo, stage and track for wheelchairs, bikes, and other mobility devices.

“We are extremely grateful to the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services for investing in our backyard, our kids and our community,” says Scott Pepin, CEO of Five Counties. “The capital funding will not only transform our backyard but will help transform lives. Our field of dreams is almost a reality, and the end result will be a fully, accessible, culturally responsive, nature-based play space that boosts outdoor treatment sessions, reduces wait lists, and helps children and families enjoy accessible play.”

Five Counties Children’s Centre provides speech, physio and occupational therapies, as well as other treatment services for children and youth from birth to age 19, in Northumberland, Peterborough, Kawartha Lakes, and Haliburton. This past year, Five Counties served more than 6,200 children and youth in its region – one-quarter of them in Northumberland County.

“Our community partners play a crucial role in delivering high-quality programs and services to the people of Ontario,” said Michael Parsa, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services. “With this funding, we are ensuring people across the province can access the vital services they need, where they need them.”
The Ontario Trillium Foundation’s (OTF) mission is to build healthy and vibrant communities across Ontario. As an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations, last year, OTF invested over $110M into 1,022 community projects and partnerships. Visit otf.ca to learn more.


· Community agencies deliver vital programs related to anti-human trafficking, autism, child welfare, children’s mental health, development services, child development, Indigenous health and wellness, interpreter and intervenor services, violence against women, and youth justice services.
· There were more than 72,000 adults eligible for developmental services in Ontario and approximately 19,000 received supportive living services in communities across the province in 2022-23.
· In 2021-22, more than 63,000 children and youth across the province received community-based rehabilitation services such as occupational therapy, physiotherapy, and speech and language pathology.
· As well, more than more than 75,000 students received school-based rehabilitation services in publicly funded schools from children’s treatment centres in Ontario.

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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