Joining the Club

Grant from ECF helps hundreds of people living with mental illness access programs through the Prosper Place Clubhouse

Since 1993, Prosper Place has improved the lives of those living with mental illness. It’s a place to develop new skills among peers; between 130 and 150 people regularly engage with its workshops and classes, which range from cooking skills to building self-confidence.

All that typically happens in person at the Prosper Place clubhouse. But the pandemic has greatly reduced its ability to host its members. Currently, some members aren’t able to safely attend at all.

“It is pretty tough for some of them, having to be at home right now,” explains Jessica Meilleur, Culture Manager of Prosper Place. “A couple of our members call almost daily just to chat with us, because they’re not able to come out.”

But thanks to support from Edmonton Community Foundation (ECF), Prosper Place received $22,500 through the Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF). That money is going into their Digital Learning and Connections program, which is helping put some of their classes online.

Without that funding, Prosper Place wouldn’t have the capacity to move to an online format.

“We didn’t even have a laptop with a camera on it,” Meilleur explains. “So to be able to do online face-to-face meetings wasn’t a possibility for us.”

Together, the Canadian Red Cross, Community Foundations of Canada and United Way Centraide Canada are collaborating with the Government of Canada to flow ECSF support to those who need it most right now.

Thanks to the ECSF funding, Prosper Place is purchasing video-capable computers, microphones, and other equipment to adapt their programming for online delivery. The funding has also allowed them to contract a videographer, which will ensure their clients get the best possible experience as they continue to learn skills and enjoy community from the safety of their homes.

“What we do here at Prosper Place is to bring people out of isolation,” Meilleur explains. “We want people to come in and participate in a purposeful day, to feel hopeful and to feel part of a community. And it really makes a night and day difference for those that might be suffering through a mental illness.”

Learn more about ECF’s response to COVID-19.