The Story of Oncore
Oncore Seniors Society has a long, rich history filled with various groups giving their all to help their community. We may not have always had our name, but the hardworking people with a mission to provide affordable housing to seniors has been consistent for over 50 years.
The Start of our Story
Our story starts in the mid 50’s when the North Kamloops Seniors Citizens Association, Branch No. 25 identified the gap for affordable seniors housing in Kamloops. The Association partnered with the Kamloops Council of Women and together they began advocating for new housing in their community.
Advocating for Affordable SeniorS Housing
The Kamloops Council of Women continued to advocate for affordable seniors housing, with the help of the North Kamloops Seniors Citizens Association and the Thompson Valley Boarding House Society. The Kamloops Council of Women offered to raise 10% of the funds required to build an affordable seniors Boarding House. To raise the money for the proposed community the Council opened a thrift shop in the home of one of its members. The shop was a major success!
Thrupp Manor Association
After years of fundraising, wavering support, and building, Thrupp Manor was becoming a reality. Thrupp Manor Association was established in the mid-1960s. They were responsible for operating Thrupp Manor, which opened on May 25, 1968. The building, located at 591 Royal Avenue, had thirty-eight suites, housing fifty-eight seniors in their opening year. The society provided each resident with housing, meals, and other support services to allow them to remain independent. Throughout the coming years various groups within the community would donate to the Association to ensure their continued success.
Seniors Outreach Services Society
Thrupp Manor had now been in operation for twenty-two years. After narrowly avoiding disastrous floods in the 70s and a major change in home styling, Thrupp was ready for a face lift. Between the Association’s savings and donations from other groups the Manor was able to have a full-scale renovation.
At the same time the Seniors Outreach Services Society was founded. The society was focused on providing affordable programming to Seniors throughout the Interior. Their community programs included the Safeway Shopping Program, Snow Angels, and the Better at Home program in Kamloops, Ashcroft, and Cache Creek. The programs were widely used within the community and improved the lives of many seniors.
RiverBend Seniors Community
Thrupp Manor had thrived for forty-two years and was ready for change. The building was becoming unsustainable to maintain with required major repairs on the horizon. A new building was in order. Conversations began and it was decided that RiverBend Seniors Community would be created on Mayfair Street in North Kamloops in partnership with A&T Developments. The Association agreed to operate 60 of the 165 suites and dedicate them to housing low-income seniors. Construction began shortly after. With these major changes Thrupp Manor Association decided to change their name to River City Seniors Society.
Oncore Seniors Society
The year started with Seniors Outreach Services Society and River City Seniors amalgamating to become Oncore Seniors Society. Oncore was now responsible for the RiverBend Manor community, and all the seniors’ programs run by River City Seniors.
With RiverBend Seniors Community seeing continuous success the RiverBend developers began construction on Mayfair Seniors Community. The building was set to be 101 suites with Oncore operating 20 of them.
Late in 2013, Oncore purchased the Senior Connector. The Connector was a newspaper dedicated to issues that impact seniors.
Expanding to other communities
With the continued success of our Kamloops communities the Oncore Board of Directors began looking at other communities that had a need for seniors housing. Prince George, located in Northern BC, was deemed to have a large population of seniors with few supportive housing options. In partnership with A&T Developments (the same developer as RiverBend and Mayfair Kamloops), the RiverBend Prince George community broke ground.
focusing efforts to provide housing
Oncore decided it was time to focus their efforts on providing housing. To accomplish this the society needed to streamline their operations. Oncore sold the Senior Connector to the Kamloops This Week newspaper (who continue to operate it to this day.) The other programs and services that were offered were given to other societies to maintain or discontinued.
In October 2017, the RiverBend in Prince George opened and began taking their first residents!
housing for adults with disabilities
In the summer of 2018, Oncore diversified their communities and began exploring housing for adults with disabilities. The housing development committee decided that Oncore would purchase twelve suites in a new building, the Lightwell, in downtown Kamloops. The building was in the first stage of development and would take several years before it was ready for occupancy.
Upholding the values
At the beginning of the year, the Lightwell was ready to begin filling suites. In partnership with Community Living BC and Interior Community Services, the Lightwell offers housing and a supportive living program to adults with disabilities.
In May, with the help of BC Housing, Oncore was able to purchase a 55+ apartment building in the Northshore of Kamloops. With rents rapidly increasing, Oncore was able to retain, or decrease the rents of the existing tenants that had resided in the building for years.
Today the team continues to uphold the values of the citizens that started our society in the 50’s. We look forward to many more years of helping our communities.