FAMILY: Resources abound at Saanich Neighbourhood Place

Food security programs, parental help and child minding all part of stalwart facility in Pearkes Recreation Centre

Colleen Hobson heads swiftly from her office, past the kitchen counter brimming with fresh produce and down the hallway towards a playground alive with the shouts of preschoolers.

“I can get lost in budgeting at this time of year,” says Hobson, executive director at Saanich Neighbourhood Place. “It’s nice to take a break and enjoy the sunshine.”

Hobson is busy for good reason: SNP provides a dizzying number of family-serving programs throughout the year from its offices inside Pearkes Recreation Centre, where the District of Saanich covers rent and facility repairs.

SNP has three major program areas: children’s services, a preschool program and childminding, which is available when parents are attending workshops or receiving services.

“We’re so grateful to have the support of the municipality,” Hobson says. “We have four or five different kinds of parenting programs … and within that, we have family support workers.”

Parental training programs are available for dads and moms to help with life skills, common kids’ behavioural problems and finding ways to create better communication between parents and their little ones.

“We do some case work with families, but we’re also about service navigation, referrals, one-on-one work,” Hobson says.

Another strong facet of Saanich Neighbourhood Place is its food security programs, which help educate parents about healthy eating and how to make food go farther at home.

“We feel there are two components to food security – learning about healthy food and nutrition, but also the social networking and connections that happen over food,” Hobson says.

The organization’s Food Skills for Families program has even won an award from the Canadian Diabetes Association, who created the course.

“We have prenatal programs all the way to teen programs for 18 and 19-year-olds, as well as programs for the family unit,” Hobson says.

The space at Saanich Neighbourhood Place is also used by various community associations. Hobson stresses the benefit of collaborating with other community serive providers like Island Health, who provide a nurse each month to make immunizations for kids an easy process.

“Parents have really appreciated the convenience of that,” Hobson says.

The next big project for Saanich Neighbourhood Place includes a custom-built child care facility behind Pearkes. The organization is waiting to hear whether they’ll qualify for provincial funding, but it has already secured a $500,000 loan from the Victoria Foundation’s Vital Loans program to get started.

“We’re just waiting to find out about the provincial grant before we move forward on final design,” Hobson says.

Discover the array of programs available to families by call 250-360-1148 or visit

Did you know?

  • Many of the programs at Saanich Neighbourhood Place benefit from the participation of volunteers. Volunteers help out in the kitchen, with Family Dinner, in the playroom and in various other ways throughout the seasons. If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering, email Corinne at
  • May is B.C. Child Care Month, which is billed as a time to recognize the importance of child care to families and to honour the work of child care providers around B.C.


Just Posted

Two volunteers work to sieve a sample of sand and ocean water through a filter, capturing any potential microplastics. (Courtesy of Ocean Diagnostics)
Victoria startup making waves in microplastics research

New products from Ocean Diagnostics will make research faster, more affordable

Chef Trevor Randle leads a June 21 online cooking featuring recipes – beef zesty lettuce wraps, blueberry strudel and blueberry spritzer. (Courtesy We Heart Local BC)
Free online cooking course explores B.C. blueberries and beef

Chef Trevor Randle calls them the province’s most flavourful foods

Willows Beach in Oak Bay. (Black Press Media file photo)
Seven days of sun set to shine on Greater Victoria

Special weather statement warns of higher than usual temperatures

Island Savings kick-starts the Equipped to Heal campaign with $120,000. (Courtesy Victoria Hospitals Foundation)
Latest Victoria Hospitals Foundation campaign targets $1M for mental health

Goal is to outfit new 19-bed unit at Eric Martin Pavilion

Google Maps shows significant traffic backups after a crash reported shortly before noon on Father’s Day, June 20. (Google Maps)
Father’s Day crash in Saanich closes lane of McKenzie Avenue

Police say there were injuries, traffic impacted

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased on Vancouver Island

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Most Read