A Tracadie group teaching essential life skills to 18 people with intellectual disabilities is worried its workshop may have to close because it doesn’t have money to fix an aging building.
Atelier La Fabrique has operated for 35 years, but director Martina Godin said the non-profit struggles each year to stay open.
“We have no budget to repair the building.”
Godin said the building used for the workshop was created by putting three buildings together.
They will be sent home and it will be TV, sleep and that’s it. – Martina Godin, Atelier La Fabrique
The foundation under one section is not stable and insulation is coming out from under the siding.
Godin said she worries the participants might fall in the basemen. The bathrooms also need to be fixed.
“That’s why we’re having difficulty right now because our operating budget is staying the same.”
The Department of Social Development provides $137,000 each year, which helps pay the salary of five employees, insurance and electricity.
The workshop also relies on corporate donations and profits from the sale of a flea market.
But it’s not enough to pay for renovations.
‘It’s their life’
Godin said the group has obtained money in the past to fix the roof and replace windows but she’s unsure she can get money again for repairs.
The thought of having to close is upsetting.
“I don’t want to because it’s their life,” she said. “They will be sent home and it will be TV, sleep and that’s it.”
Participants spend Monday to Friday at the workshop doing a variety of things, including making crosses for local funeral homes. Some make decorations, knit and recover recyclable material, and others help with preparing dinner.
The participants are paid $15 a week but relatives say the organization offers much more.
Three residents from a special needs home operated by Monica Gosselin attend La Fabrique on a regular basis.
In French, Gosselin said the workshop is their life.
“They get up in the morning, they go to work, it gives them a sense of belonging.”
Godin said she has no idea how much it will cost to make all the repairs needed to make the building safe.
“We need help. I want help from someone.”
Godin took to social media to share her concerns about the building and alert the community of the possibility of closure.
When asked how much longer the workshop could stay open, she said that after March, it will be operating on a week-to-week basis.
“When I check and I know I have no money, I must close up.”