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New hope for the future

ACE Memorial re-opens Moulder of Dreams

by Meaghan Whelan

After more than two years of strategizing, planning and building partnerships, the Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship (ACE) Memorial team has officially re-opened Moulder of Dreams, a pottery studio in Port Hope Simpson.

The studio is a source of employment, physical therapy and social enrichment for members of Port Hope Simpson who have myotonic dystrophy, a type of muscular dystrophy that affects the nervous and muscular systems. The studio opened in 2001 but was forced to close in 2005 due to sustainability issues.

ACE Memorial worked with the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), provincial and municipal levels of government and the residents of Port Hope Simpson to develop an action plan to re-open the studio and make it sustainable. ACE provided business skills training and worked with the studio to develop a comprehensive business plan.

Johnathon Earle is the Moulder of Dreams project manager for ACE Memorial. "This project is ambitious, but we know that Moulder of Dreams has the potential to turn the Town of Port Hope Simpson into an economic stronghold and positively affect the south coast region of Labrador," Mr. Earle explained. "Reopening the pottery studio is a proud moment for ACE Memorial and the community of Port Hope Simpson."

At the opening ceremony on April 24, virtually the entire community filled the town hall to show their support. ACE Memorial President, Heather Comerford, said the event was truly heart-warming. “The ceremony included a ribbon cutting by the workers with disabilities as well as a demonstration of how they make the pottery. Special songs were sung by community citizens in honour of the opening and school children came in and performed a skipping routine for us,” she noted. “Overall, it was a beautiful event. The families were extremely happy and the workers were beaming. So many people from around town attended and everyone made ACE Memorial feel incredibly welcome and proud.”

The event included Labrador MP Todd Russell, provincial delegates Reg Caine and Ina Jefferies from Innovation Trade and Rural Development, and Reg Hancock from Forteau.

The studio now employs eight Port Hope Simpson residents, including four living with myotonic dystrophy. The studio sells inukshuks, dinner sets and Newfoundland and Labrador related items.