SIRCH Community Services goes into the red
By Chad Ingram
June 21, 2016
SIRCH Community Services accrued a sizeable deficit during the past year and has gone into overdraft, but executive director Gena Robertson is optimistic the organization’s financial straits will improve.
SIRCH’s financial statements for 2015/2016 financial year were presented during its annual general meeting at SIRCH Central in Haliburton Village on June 15.
An audit from firm Collins Barrow shows a deficit of nearly $80,000 for the year and, after dipping into reserves to offset those costs, a bank indebtedness of just more than $27,000.
SIRCH’s expenses for the year were about $1.3 million, its revenues closer to $1.2 million.
SIRCH lost about $60,000 in government funding last year as the hospice services it once offered were moved under the purview of Haliburton Highlands Heath Services through a provincial integration process.
It also spent about $30,000 on renovations to its new headquarters in the village, in the former home of Touch of Class spa. The County Road 21 building that has served as SIRCH’s headquarters for a number of years is for sale.
Robertson noted the economic situation is not unprecedented, SIRCH has gone in and out of the red during its 27-year history.
“Sometimes there’s government funding and sometimes there isn’t,” she said. “We’ll get back, I’m confident of that. The government funding is getting harder to come by, especially operating dollars.”
As a result of the lack of funds, some SIRCH programming, such as its popular School’s Cool program, which prepares children to enter the school system, will not happen this year.
“We will be strategizing about how to have it back in the community next year,” Robertson said. “We just weren’t able to afford it this year.”
SIRCH offers numerous services, from pre- and post-natal programming to bereavement support to food programs.
The past year saw the second round of its Cook It Up program, which provides food services training to unemployed and underemployed individuals. Baked and Battered offers up its kitchen as training grounds and residents enjoy free lunches as students hone their skills.
This year nine people completed the program, with seven of them already employed. Four were hired at McKecks.
SIRCH’s Thrift Warehouse, which sells donated used items, saw its sales increase 14 per cent over last year.
“The summer cottage season is undoubtedly our busiest time,” said manager Cammy George.
The warehouse has been featured on television show Colin and Justin’s Cabin Fever and continues to enjoy that exposure.
“We certainly take advantage of that,” George said.
The warehouse recently hosted a training programming that, over six weeks, taught six individuals numerous skills, including woodworking and repurposing furniture.
There will be a show and sale featuring some of the items at the warehouse from 6 to 8 p.m. on Monday, June 27.
SIRCH Central, which features a meeting area and cooking facilities, is available to rent by donation.
For more information about SIRCH and its programming, visit www.sirch.on.ca.