Over the past 25 years, SIRCH has often served as an incubator — providing a good idea or program with a place to develop until it can make it on its own. An incubator creates the kinds of conditions that give that ‘new life’ the best chance to grow strong and succeed. Not all new efforts for social change survive. They face the same kinds of challenges that start up businesses do. For every new business that succeeds four or five fail. And in SIRCH’s experience, that same ratio of success to failure holds for new efforts at social change. So an incubator can mean the difference between a program that succeeds and thrives, and one that doesn’t.

The process varies, but inevitably a need is identified and along with it the recognition that there is a gap in services.  In many cases, SIRCH takes a lead in consulting with community members to identify a potential solution. If SIRCH is incubating a program, it may include: obtaining funding, partners and support; recruiting staff and volunteers, developing policies, procedures, processes, evaluation criteria – everything that’s needed to get it all up and running.

Sometimes SIRCH will continue to provide the program that has matured. Or sometimes we will divest it. Divestment from SIRCH often occurs because it makes more sense for the program to incorporate and stand on its own, or there is another, more appropriate organization to manage the program over the long term.

Just some of the programs and services for which SIRCH has served as an incubator include:

  • Adult mental health counselling – divested to HHHS
  • Women’s Emergency House – closed due to lack of sustainable funding
  • The Crisis Assistance Program – divested to a local community group
  • Counseling for Women –  divested to the YWCA & Women’s Health Care
  • Parent Support Services – divested to Family Services (Point in Time)
  • Volunteer Dental Outreach – launched as its own corporation
  • Hospice Services – divested to Haliburton Highlands Health Services