Friday September 19, 2014

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Newcomer Services celebrates grand opening

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Labour Market Services regional director Larry Wells, Mayor Roy Ludwig, Southeast Newcomer Services (SNS) executive director Debbie Hagel, Estevan Salvation Army Lieutenant Brian Bobolo and Estevan Chamber of Commerce administrative assistant Marilyn Fowlow participated in the ribbon cutting at the SNS grand opening. Bobolo and Fowlow are also SNS board members. (Photo submitted).

A change in location has to be proven beneficial for Southeast Newcomer Services (SNS).

The organization had been located in the northeast corner of the city, from the time it opened in early 2010 until the end of last year. But SNS moved to an office in the 1100 block of Sixth Street in early 2014, and according to information services advisor Elaine Popova, it has been a good move.

SNS celebrated the grand opening of its new location on April 23. A ribbon cutting ceremony was among the highlights.

Popova said newcomers appreciate the central location.

"It's closer to downtown, so it's more comfortable for newcomers, and there is more space," Popova said. "Many newcomers who come in don't have cars, so they had to find somebody who could give them a ride (to the old site). Now that we're located closer to downtown, they can walk here."

The number of newcomers visiting has increased monthly. About 10 to 15 clients come to their office each day, and about 30 first-time visitors are coming in every month.

"They come here to work on their documents, to update their health cards, to get some information, to get help, or to get visas for their friends, their parents or their relatives," said Popova.

Clients also have access to computers, printers, and phones; and can receive referrals to settlement services, language assessments and English classes.

"English classes are also very important, so we refer our clients to English classes," said Popova. "We refer them to classes for beginners and classes for intermediates."

Not only does SNS assist newcomers from other countries, they help Canadians from other provinces and Aboriginal people relocating to the southeast. Settlement advisor Becky Wock can travel to other communities to meet newcomers, Popova said, and that adds to SNS's convenience.

SNS is also now affiliated with Southeast Advocates for Employment. Previously, it fell under the umbrella of the Southeast Regional College.

"It is great to see the amount of community support we have had since we opened our doors," said SNS executive director Debbie Hagel. "The grand opening represents the culmination of much effort and hard work, and we are happy to finally welcome everyone though our doors."


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