A HISTORY OF
In the 1960’s, Saskatchewan Mental Health Services worked with communities across the province to establish White Cross Centers. These centers provided community support and rehabilitation services for persons being released from institutionalized psychiatric care. In its initial years of operation, Reverend Meryl Thompson chaired the Board of Directors of the Melfort Branch of the White Cross Center, and Mrs. Doris Nordquist, a registered psychiatric nurse, administered the center, which was operated from a building located on Bemister Avenue. Most of the funds required to operate the center were raised locally.
In the 1970’s, as referrals from psychiatric centers gradually decreased, the White Cross Center evolved into a center for the intellectually disabled. In 1974, the center began receiving financial support from the provincial government’s Core Services as an effort was made to establish permanent programs for the disabled across the province. As the White Cross Center changed its focus, it also changed its name and became known as the Melfort Activity Center.
As the 1970’s drew to a close, the board of directors decided that a larger and more permanent base of operation was required. A facility was built on Hamilton Avenue West and was opened in February of 1981. In the early 1980’s, the Saskatchewan Association of Rehabilitation Centers (SARC) was supporting a move to change the concept of sheltered workshops from a daycare approach to places of work in order to to give clients a greater sense of dignity and self-esteem. In May 1981, all of the rehabilitation centers across the province that were providing services for the intellectually disabled were incorporated under the province’s Non-Profit Act. It was at this time that the name of the center was changed from the Melfort Activity Centre to PLUS Industries Incorporated.
In 1990, as the number of participants increased and new programs were required, a 3200 square foot expansion was added to the existing facility. With this additional space and a visionary board of directors, supported employment programs were developed to provide meaningful work opportunities for the participants of PLUS Industries.
In 1988 PLUS Industries opened one of the first SARCAN depots in the province. This depot was one of 32 depots that were set up across the province in partnership with SARC. The Melfort depot has continued to be an important part of the region’s recycling efforts and its volume of processed containers has expanded each year making it one of the largest depots in the province.
In 2004 PLUS Industries purchased the Clift Building on Main Street in Melfort. This heritage building, which was built in 1907, is one of the oldest on Main Street. The building was purchased to serve as a retail outlet for products that are made at PLUS Industries and also because of the apartments on the upper level could be rented to participants in the independent living program supervised by PLUS Industries. The retail outlet, PLUS Stuff Junction, has evolved over the years to become an excellent gift shop and a source of supplies for the paper arts and scrapbooking enthusiasts.
In 2013 the Board of Directors of PLUS Industries, with encouragement and financial support from the Ministry of Social Services, made a decision to build a residence for adults with intellectual disabilities. This residence, called Greentree Home, has four living spaces for residents with high needs, four living spaces for residents in the extended supportive living program, and four suites in the lower level for residents in the independent living program.
In 2017 the exterior of PLUS Stuff Junction was restored to its original look with support from the Melfort Main Street Program and a Saskatchewan Heritage Grant.
Today, Plus Industries continues to thrive and expand. In the fall of 2017, an extensive project was undertaken to add 1600 square feet to the existing facility and to renovate the administrative centre, day program space and employment centre. The completion of this project in November of 2018 has given our participants and staff excellent facilities to work in as we continue to provide a day program, supported employment, and recreational and social programs on site and in the community. The official opening and ribbon cutting ceremony was held on November 26, 2018. Click on this link to view photos of this special day:
PLUS Industries continues to be operated by a volunteer board of directors, a general manager and senior management team, and a staff of forty full and part time employees. We are proud to support sixty participants in our varied programs to ensure they are meeting their goals for independence and integration into the community.