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Interagency office running out of time
Funding for co-ordinator position to end January

Andrew Rankin
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, November 5, 2009

INUVIK - The Inuvik Interagency Committee will lose its only paid employee by the end of December if funding for the position isn't replenished.

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The Inuvik Interagency Committee will lose co-ordinator Larry Peckford by January if funding for the position isn't replenished. - Andrew Rankin/NNSL photo

The prospect of losing the not-for-profit group's co-ordinator doesn't sit well with Patricia Davison, who's a member of the committee, and representative of the Children First Society.

"It would be a shame because the position is very important," said Davison. "Non-profit agencies are often left for volunteers to manage and run, but we need that secure continuity, to have a person to manage the affairs like doing up minutes, disseminating them, someone on top of things keeping people informed and pulling ideas together."

The committee is a network of community representatives comprising 28 member groups such as the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, the youth centre and various government departments. The goal is to promote social change and well being by forming community partnerships. Members meet once a month and the meetings are open to the public.

The territorial government provided $150,000 two years ago for the co-ordinator position, which has been occupied by Larry Peckford. He said the committee is looking to secure $100,000 a year to maintain the position and the upkeep of the office located at Northwest Territories Training Centre. He's hopeful that funding will come through.

"It's value-added," he said. "No organization will stop functioning if we close our doors. Every organization, social, health and wellness, will continue to work. But we encourage co-operation between agencies by sharing information, by taking on different initiatives. That's important."

In his role, Peckford is responsible for a variety of duties ranging from producing meeting agendas and minutes, connecting membership groups on a variety of initiatives and keeping members abreast on local events. He also maintains the committee's website.

"I've seen organizations where they don't talk to one another," he said. "There's too much inefficiency. When you communicate properly you get things done, which makes for a stronger community."

Over its 27 years of existence, the committee has been responsible for helping to establishing the Food Bank, the suicide hotline and the New Beginning alternate school for youth. More recently it's helped form a youth sub-committee at Samuel Hearne Secondary School.

Davison said the Children First Society has benefited greatly from the support it's received from the committee's membership, especially in raising money for its new child development centre. She said it's an invaluable tool to bring the community together and, by extension, strengthening it.

"There are times when we (the society) thought we weren't going down the path and the interagency has been big on supporting us and giving encouragement," she said. "It's important. It's a mechanism for all agencies and organizations in town to come together and make plans to work toward common goals. There's strength in numbers."

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