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Cowichan Brain Injury Society looking for space to hold programs after fire

Repairs to society’s headquarters expected to take some time
Chris Rafuse, executive director of the Cowichan Brain Injury Society, said the CBIS is looking for space to host its programs and gatherings after a fire put the society’s headquarters temporarily out of commission. (Citizen file photo)

The Cowichan Brain Injury Society is looking for space to help host its programs after a fire in November left its headquarters on Cassino Road in Duncan closed for the time being.

Executive director Chris Rafuse said the wood stove in the building’s front room caught fire and, while the damage from the fire was minimal, the damage from the smoke has left the centre inoperable until it is dealt with.


She said Literacy Now Cowichan and Volunteer Cowichan have stepped up and offered some office space so that workers from the CBIS, which promotes understanding and rehabilitation to people affected with brain injuries by providing education, support and services, can meet with the society’s clients when necessary.

“We’ve learned during the pandemic that some of our programs can be delivered by phone, the internet and Zoom, but there are times when we need to deal with our clients individually in person, and we thank Literacy Now Cowichan and Volunteer Cowichan for offering office space” Rafuse said.

“But we do need space to host our programs and if anyone has any classroom space or rooms of similar size that we could use for now to deliver our courses and hold gatherings, that would be great. We are continuing to pay rent at our Cassino Road location even though we aren’t operating from there right now, so we don’t have a lot of money to spend on other accommodations.”

Rafuse said that if anyone can help, the CBIS can be reached at 250-597-4662 or by email at

Rafuse said the whole headquarters, which is a large building with many offices and other rooms, has to be cleaned and painted, and it is the responsibility of the society to take on that task.


“That’s not going to happen overnight, so we really need a place to hold our courses and have gatherings,” she said.

Rafuse said volunteers are also needed by the society on Dec. 16 when it hosts its Christmas kitchen party at Duncan United Church from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., which will have an east-coast theme.

She said the event will give the public an opportunity to learn about brain injuries and what the society does to help those impacted by them.

Rafuse said the party will also introduce a one-year long major fundraising campaign that will see two people from Island Health ride bikes from Newfoundland back to Vancouver Island over a period of approximately three months, starting in June.

“The bike trip by the ‘Brain Twins’ will raise funds to help deal with homelessness, domestic abuse and other issues related to brain injuries,” she said.

“Come to the party on Dec. 17 and meet the Brain Twins.”

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