BGC South East to rename day care centre in recognition of funding pledge

The Robert Meek Childcare Centre will be renamed the Hughson Childcare Centre, thanks to a generous pledge. Photo via BGC South East.

The Robert Meek Childcare Centre, owned and operated by BGC South East (formerly known as Boys and Girls Club of Kingston & Area) is getting a financial boost in the form of a $1 million pledge from The Hughson Group.

According to a release from BGC South East, the pledge will support the operations of the Robert Meek Centre, reportedly the largest Childcare Centre in downtown Kingston.

The Hughson Group has committed to support the new daycare facility for the next 10 years, BGC shared. In recognition of this gift and partnership, the facility will be rebranded and named after the Hughson Group this fall.

“We believe in the work that the Boys and Girls Club is doing in our community,” said Bert Hughson, owner of the Hughson Group.

“Their facilities and programs are fantastic and we are excited to contribute to the continued high quality of their services to local families. When Garry McColman arranged for us to visit the daycare centre, we could not believe how great the condition was for an older building… you could feel the positive energy, and everything fits within what my family wants to support.”

According to BGC, the Club’s story started at the Robert Meek Centre back in the 1990s. Since then, the Club has grown its service and reach, now benefitting 5,000 local children and youth annually in Kingston & Area. The recent renovations that launched the new daycare facility at 559 Bagot Street allow the Club to serve 200 local kids with daycare, before and after school programs, summer camps, STEM, and more.

Harold Parsons, Chief Executive Officer at BGC South East reminisced about the history of the building during his leadership: “The facility had a lot of community involvement and support over the last 25 years,” he said. “Our stakeholders should be equally proud of having this landmark at such a high standard for the next generation of families.”

In the release, Parsons mentions the Rotary Club of Kingston’s foundational support in the early years of the Club, including the initial contribution to purchase and restore the gymnasium. The Davies Foundation also contributed to the recent renovations with a $100,000 major gift, and infrastructure upgrades were completed a decade ago, with support from Infrastructure Canada and the City of Kingston.

“Our company also has a long history of hard work and growth, so we recognize the determination and reliability of the Club. We are pleased to provide financial support to the Club and take away at least that pressure of paying for the operations of a building that is 104 years old,” Hughson said.

The Hughson Group is a locally owned construction company, focused on providing high-quality services since the 1980s, according to the release. The company provides services in fencing, guiderail, foundation drilling, barrier and noise walls, overhead sign installation and site development. The Hughson Group also provides equipment rental services such as vacuum and sweeper trucks, hydraulic drills and portable washrooms.

“This is the largest gift we have ever received from a corporate partner,” said Parsons. “We are thrilled and very grateful, because we know the impact this will have for local families for many years to come.”

In response to Kingstonist inquires,Amanda Guarino, Director of Resource Development and Communications for BGC South East, said that the funding will support operational expenses of the facility, “which are extremely hard to fundraise for.”

“This includes utilities, hydro, and continued maintenance of a 100-year old building to ensure it is operating at excellent standards,” Guarino explained.

The Club said it will be celebrating this gift and partnership with an Open House honouring 100 years of the Robert Meek facility and the launch of the new Hughson Childcare Centre in the Fall of 2024.

“Giving back is an essential part of our corporate values. We are pleased to support the Club to provide local kids with more opportunities in life,” Hughson added.

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