Fundraising concert to help give people a second chance

Fundraiser for Bridges program will help people who have served their sentence to  nd work

An organization that gives people who have been a part of the provincial corrections system a second chance at life is hosting a fundraiser with a local band Saturday.

The Bridges Employment Program takes people who have served time at the provincial correctional centre (for convictions of two year or less), or who haven’t served jail time but have been convicted with a crime, and finds work for them in the community.

The program spends ten weeks with its clients — eight weeks in the classroom and two weeks to find a job or get them into training. Fundraisers like the one Bridges is holding Saturday night help pay for workplace certificates, such as first aid, H2S and confined space, to help clients get work in the mines.

“We’ve helped about 300 people get to work or to get training in the past three years,” said program manager Carlin Gall.

“The best success we’ve had is setting people up in the mine, instead of finding them jobs in Prince Albert,” Gall said.

“Especially, if we get them in the mines, it gets them away fro their negative environment, they’re living in camp jobs where it’s dry. That’s our highest success for long-term employment.”

In addition to being away from some of the bad influences in Prince Albert, job placements with mining companies pay more than the minimum wage salaries others were able to get at retail jobs in Prince Albert.

It’s also a benefit to the companies. Many of the Bridges clients are Indigenous, and others are from the north. Some of the northern mining companies have contracts that require a certain percentage of First Nations employees.

“This is helping them get back to the north as well as helping them get employed,” Gall said.

So far, Gall’s had success working with a handful of companies. He’s hoping developments like the ones Rio Tinto is working on will help provide more opportunities for his clients.

“If I can get people certified before the Rio Tinto mine opens up, there are a lot of jobs there,” he said.

“They give me a call and see how many guys I have that are certified and qualified, and I send them out there.”

With tonight’s fundraiser, Gall is hoping to raise enough money to provide training for five people.  It’s the fourth concert he’s held in Prince Albert. The fundraisers are a way to help his clients land back on their feet after they’ve served their time while also helping to develop the music scene in Prince Albert.

Tonight’s show, being held at the Tartan Table in downtown Prince Albert, features a band called Lewellyn Moss. The group, which is from Melfort and Star City has been playing together for about a year, and has been playing shows across Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

‘They’re a really good band, and they play 70s and 8-0s cover rock,” Gall said.

“They play some current stuff as well, but mostly it’s older rock music.”

Tickets are $15 and are about 85 per cent sold out, but Gall thinks there will still be some tickets available at the door.

He’s hoping to hold more events like this in the future, especially as downtown Prince Albert goes through a revitalization.

“With the university of Saskatchewan coming soon, it would be nice to have a nice night life,” he said.