Five Oaks Centre underwent several upgrades and renovations after receiving a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
The centre received $148,400, which went to several upgrades, including the renovation of the dining hall for retreat guests, programs, and community rentals, improvements to the kitchen layout and equipment, as well as plumbing and electrical upgrades, COVID safety enhancements including new guarded cafeteria line, hands free beverage station, air purification, sanitization stations and signage and improved accessibility to accommodate everyone with mobility issues and serve the community better.
On Wednesday, November 3rd, board members, staff, and local officials gathered at Five Oaks Centre to mark the upgrades to the 65-year-old building. Due to the Resilient Communities Fund grant, Five Oaks Centre was able to rebuild and recover from the impacts of COVID-19 by purchasing equipment and renovating the space to provide safe food services for the Five Oaks programs and the community at large.
Will Bouma, MPP for Brantford-Brant provided a video message congratulating the Five Oaks staff on the work done as a result of receiving the grant. The updated facilities will enhance the programs at Five Oaks and create a welcoming space for all.
“I recall the first time I visited the Five Oaks Centre, I was struck by the sheer physical beauty of the location”, said Bouma. “Then I got to know the folks there and realized that it is much more than that – it is a welcoming, safe place to work, learn, play, pray and heal. I cannot be happier for this announcement and look forward to working with the team for many years to come”.
Michael Shewburg, Executive Director of Five Oaks Centre, said the impact of the grant cannot be underestimated.
“Five Oaks serves, and seeks to serve, a diverse range of groups, who will all benefit from these improvements. This grant will help our non-profit organization recover from the impacts of the pandemic by being able to welcome and serve guests in an environment designed with COVID-19 safety in mind,” said Shewburg.
Five Oaks is a not-for-profit Interfaith/Intercultural spiritual centre, offering retreats, programs, summer camps, and facility rentals in a sacred natural setting with cozy accommodations, meals and 117 acres of forest, fields and trails on the banks of the Grand River. Their mandate is to offer renewing and transformative individual, group, and community experiences through meaningful reflection, deep connection, and joyful expression. It is an affirming, vibrant, and inclusive community where people of all backgrounds and traditions can gather.