London and Area (PHSS) was established in 1988 as a result of families wanting to have their sons and daughters living close to them. Traditionally, people with high care needs were placed in institutions because community services had not been developed to address their needs.
When staff initially met with the people requiring support they expressed their desire to live in typical homes in typical neighbourhoods and not an institutionalized setting. Participation House is proud to support more than 150 people throughout London in a variety of settings, all of which are called “home” and “community”.
For the past 5 years Participation House has been engaged with Eco Park in many ways: The biggest success is the weekly Fishing experience that is offered to their clients, it is extremely well attended. They also offer an “Invite your Buddy Day” so people can share their enjoyment of the park and compete in Catching the Big One. At the end of the season Participation House hosts a “Fishing Tournament” where trophies are awarded to the winners along with a BBQ celebration.
Some Clients have gotten involved in gardening. In 2018 PHSS created a Pumpkin Patch which yielded over 70 pumpkins that were shared with others of the agency and used for a craft sessions. Other clients used the smaller garden beds for vegetables, they tended to the plants and then harvested the fruits of their labour when ready and shared with others. Raised beds are used by those clients who are in wheelchairs.
PHSS hosts a couple of music days where they have a BBQ often around Canada Day and the Civic Holiday weekend, and in addition offers Walking groups, and creative craft groups.
The newest program “Paddles for Paint” has been held at Eco Park for the past 2 years – and is a huge success – bringing Community, Friends, Family and PHSS artists together for a fun day (slient auction & quarter auction) which supports the Possibilities in Paint workshops. This will be held on Saturday, June 22, 2019 from 11am until 4pm.
Finally, PHSS schedules a day in September where they partner with Students from Western University for a day of Fellowship-Music and a BBQ.
Eco Park has provided PHSS with a safe outdoor area for people to explore – run off some steam and be themselves.