© Geraldine Brophy
Darren Gardner, board chair of the Humber Valley United Church in Pasadena, stands inside the church's Bonnell Memorial Hall thats going to be converted into a daycare.
The ministry of the Humber Valley United Church hopes converting its church hall into a daycare is a right church, right pew situation.
With a large hall that has been dormant the majority of the time, the ministry began thinking about how it could better utilize the facility. Fulfilling a need for daycare services in Pasadena was identified.
“It is kind of groundbreaking, for this area anyway,” said Darren Gardner, chair of the church’s board.
“It is forward thinking and I am pleased it has been embraced.”
Gardner referred to the project as mutually beneficial for the church and the community.
“It will benefit the church in terms of this space being occupied, and some of the costs of operating that space will be covered,” he said. “Aside from that, it kind of gets us out there in the community and lets people know the church is alive and well and is looking to bring better things to the community.”
The hope was to have the daycare ready for September, but it will more likely be January, said Gardner. He said the process is a lengthier one than anticipated.
The church has gone through the process of becoming incorporated. There will have to be some minor renovations to washroom facilities and the layout of the hall. The board has also been working with Child, Youth and Family Services officials on the criteria for operating a daycare.
Gardner said it appears the hall will be divided to accommodate two age groups, but the details have not been determined. He said they do not want to open it up to infant care.
The number of staff will depend on the enrolment, but he expects to start with three hired staff. There is a ratio of staff per children they have to follow. He also said the daycare will be non-denominational.
Gardner, who is a realtor, said Pasadena has been an attractive community for young families. He expects the daycare service to be an essential offering for years to come.
“I think it is one of the few communities in western Newfoundland that is showing positive growth,” he said.