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Our History

Since our founding over 100 years ago, thousands of individuals, families, couples and children have come through our doors seeking life-changing support.

Over the years, our mandate and name have evolved to remain helpful to those in the community who need us the most.

1914 –We were the Brant Patriotic and War Relief Association – supporting families of soldiers
1927 – Social Service League of Brantford with support for the Spanish Flu
1956 – Family Service Bureau of Brantford with a focus on bettering families
1988 – Family Counselling Centre of Brant with a focus on family support in counselling

Our agency has since evolved to also support individuals with developmental disabilities, creating a financial empowerment program, and expanding our catchment to include Hamilton, Niagara, Haldimand Norfolk and Six Nations and Missisaugas of the Credit First Nation.
In 2020 we have reimagined ourselves again as Willowbridge Community Services. This rebranding reflects bringing change to life with a flexible, adaptable approach to service that always keeps the community’s deepest needs in mind.

Detailed Timeline

1914 – The Social Service League founded by Frank M Cockshutt. The foundation was also Involved with Brant Patriotic and War Relief Association. The support from here included funds, social programs, food and clothing to families affected by WWI.

1915 – Social Service League delivers baskets of food and gifts to Brantford families in need during WWI.

1917-1918 – After hiring a nurse for child welfare, efforts expanded to a Well Baby Clinic in a joint effort with the Brant County Medical Association and Victorian order of nurses.

1918-1920– Brantford and Brant County were devastated by the Spanish Flu with over 400 deaths. The agency turned their attention to victims of the Flu, raising funds and offering 3-year loans to widows and their children. The agency opened a number of Creches (daycares) throughout the City which allowed widows to enter the workforce and support their families. Well Baby Clinics were expanded offering prevention and education to mothers of young children.

1914-1924 Social Service League of Brantford provided all city services to crippled children at their clinic in Brantford in collaboration with the Brantford Rotary Club and the Hospital for Sick Children Toronto.

1928 – The Social Service League of Brantford held a Mother’s Camp at Turkey Point to help with parenting skills and family unification.

1915-1933 Social Service League of Brantford became a Branch of the Community League and began to distribute food, clothing and household items

1944-45 The Social Service League of Brantford found a new home at Willard Hall, following a disastrous office fire.

1947 – The Social Service League engaged a social worker and began family counselling services.

1956-1959 – The Social Service League changed its name to the Family Service Bureau of Brantford with an increased focus on social work, home visits and telephone calls.

1975 – The Social Service League became a teaching centre for Wilfrid Laurier Master of Social Work Program

1981 – The League changed its name to the Family Service Bureau of Brantford. Family Support Services were added on behalf of the Ministry of Social Services. Families were trained to provide care for children in the community living with an intellectual disability.

1982-87 – The Family Service Bureau began focusing on family and couples counselling, including services for women and children who had been abused. It also added the Options to Violence program to work with men with a history of abuse to find alternatives to violence in the home.

1988 – The Family Service Bureau changed its name to Family Counselling Centre of Brant to reflect the agency’s focus.

1992-1997 – The Family Counselling Centre of Brant opened a Credit Counselling Department and began to focus on financial empowerment. It also added senior support and expanded services to those with intellectual disabilities.

2014 – The Family Counselling Centre of Brant celebrated 100 years of service to the community

2019 – The Family Counselling Centre of Brant initiated The Grove, an after-school respite program for youth living with an intellectual disability in Brant and Brant County. It also added the Leadership Development course for adult leaders who are living with an intellectual disability and want to make a difference.

2020 – The Family Counselling Centre of Brant responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, creating telephone and video counselling and consulting services, as well as group counselling sessions for essential workers effected by working the frontlines

September 2020 – Family Counselling Centre of Brant changed its name to Willowbridge Community Services.

 More About Willowbridge
Community Services

Mission, Vision, and Values

Learn about the Mission, Vision and Values of Willowbridge Community Services

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Meet Our Team

Meet the people behind Willowbridge Community Services and their qualifications

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Learn about the rich history of Willowbridge Community Services (formerly Family Counselling Centre of Brant)

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Access information for crisis resources and Willowbridge planning resources

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Board of Directors

The Board of Directors at Willowbridge Community Services is a compassionate, caring team that come from all walks of life.

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