SOICS program manager Tahira Saeed, left, and Penticton Mayor Andrew Jakubeit at the ground breaking ceremony of the new facility.                                Western News file photo

SOICS program manager Tahira Saeed, left, and Penticton Mayor Andrew Jakubeit at the ground breaking ceremony of the new facility. Western News file photo

South Okanagan Immigrant and Community Service grand opening

Opening of new facility in Penticton takes place on Thursday, Nov. 23

South Okanagan Immigrant and Community Services will celebrate the grand opening of its new building with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, Nov. 23rd at 6 p.m.

The new facility, located at 340 Ellis St., will assist SOICS in providing immigrants, refugees, and temporary foreign workers with a range of services that help them integrate in local communities.

Related: SOICS breaks ground on new location

“The new facility will greatly enhance program flexibility and capacity for clients, staff and mentors as we work together to help clients realize the full potential of their lives in Canada,” said Jean Makosz, past-president of the SOICS board.

While SOICS annually serves more than 1,500 clients throughout the South Okanagan-Similkameen, the number of immigrants living in Canada is expected to grow over the next few years. According to the national multi-year immigration plan, Canada is expected to welcome nearly one million immigrants over the next three years.

SOICS said immigrants have played a vital role in Okanagan industries such as agriculture, health services and tourism. SOICS is looking to utilize their new facility to provide these newcomers with tools and services that will help them thrive in their new home.

Related: Course provides skills, direction for South Okanagan immigrants

Though SOICS leased their previous building, they now own the facility at 340 Ellis St. This ownership will allow the organization to focus more of their funding on providing newcomers with essential services through language classes, childminding, skill development workshops, employment and settlement services.

“This commitment by SOICS will provide stability to our partners throughout the South Okanagan for decades to come,” said SOICS board director, Larry Morgan. “Ownership will reduce monthly overheads thereby freeing up additional revenue for value-added programs.”

The grand opening and ribbon-cutting festivities will celebrate those who helped plan and complete the project. SOICS looks to celebrate the work by architect Tony Giroux, Wildstone Construction, and all the vendors and volunteers who made the new facility a success.