The Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island is celebrating Campbell River’s new ‘home away from home’ Q̓ʷalayu House.

A ribbon-cutting was held this past Monday (July 12th), with community partners, donors, supporters, and families in attendance.

Dignitaries cut the ribbon to officially open Q̓walayu House (Photo: Ethan Morneau, staff)

Q̓ʷalayu House architect and former Victoria mayor Alan Lowe tells My Campbell River Now it’s great to see the foundation’s vision come to fruition.

“It’s been two and a half years of planning and building, and so far everyone going through this place is just amazed at what the residents will actually come to,” Lowe says.

Located next door to the North Island hospital, Q̓ʷalayu House aims to provide a home-like environment for pregnant women and their families, and for families with children who need to travel to town to access pediatric health care services. Staff will start welcoming guests later this summer.

Inspiration stems from the foundation’s ‘home away from home’ in Victoria, Jeneece Place. As families, health care providers, and community groups from northern Vancouver Island saw its impact on Island families, they voiced a need to expand this model in Campbell River.

“We have some public areas that families can enjoy together. There are private areas where there are the 10-bedrooms, that’s off on one wing,” Lowe explains. “Where we have public areas, we have high-vaulted ceilings. We felt that we wanted to bring the wood structures into play, as this is Campbell River where a lot of the lumber and materials come from.”

Q̓ʷalayu House features shared kitchen space, a stocked pantry, laundry facilities, common areas including play areas, a quiet room, and gathering spaces. There’s also an outdoor lounge area, barbeque, and children’s play area.

“These facilities need to be right on hospital lands because the need of going to the hospital at a moment’s notice was required. Island Health has been a great partner, both with Jeneece Place as well as Qwalayu House,” adds Lowe.

Q̓ʷalayu House reservations are made through a referral process. Health care professionals, social workers, and other family support services will contact the home directly on behalf of the families needing accommodation.

Since the launch of the Q̓ʷalayu House fundraising campaign, the majority of the Children’s Health Foundation’s $7-million goal has been raised. They’re still hoping to raise another $1.8-million, to fund the first five years of operating costs. To donate, click here.

For more information about Q̓ʷalayu House, visit islandkidsfirst.com/campbellriverhome

Back of Q̓ʷalayu House (Photo: Ethan Morneau, staff)