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More space at new women's resource centre location

TRURO - It might be bittersweet, but the Central Nova Women's Resource Centre is getting new digs.

Darl Wood, left, Laurie MacBurnie and Michaela MacLachlan will be sad to leave Ginger House when the Central Nova Women's Resource Centre moves to the Esplanade at the end of the month. Wood is one of two support workers, while MacLachlan is the administrative co-ordinator. MacBurnie is a student from the Institute for Human Services and working at the centre.

"We've been here for two to three years now and we love the space, we love the area and we love the landlord," said Michaela MacLachlan, administrative co-ordinator at the centre. "But the problem is we're expanding as staff and we just don't have the space."

The centre, currently housed in the Ginger House on Prince Street, will be opening at 82 Esplanade on June 1.

"We started with three staff, and now we have five. We have three full-time and two part-time, plus we have students coming in and have staff from other projects. In order to reasonably expand, we needed to look elsewhere.

"It is bittersweet. I will miss this place. It is really nice and cozy," said MacLachlan.

The administrative co-ordinator expects the move will take a couple of days before the centre is 100 per cent up and running, however, people will still be able to stop by if needed.

The new space on the Esplanade is almost double in size and MacLachlan said the staff at the centre is hoping to be able to expand its services.

"We're hoping to host a lot more drop-in sessions or workshops and do some more fun activities," she said. "We will have more space to hold larger numbers of people."

The centre sees about 2,000 women a year, although that could be some people returning more than once.

"We employ two support workers that people see one-on-one for a variety of reasons, and we have a lot of programming, such as self-esteem, healthy relationships and boundaries, and anger management or stress management," she said.

The programs could be done in group sessions or one-on-one, whichever suits the clients' needs best.

"We also host ‘Real Issues' each month where we will show a movie or documentary on a topic we might be promoting, then we discuss it and there's popcorn," said MacLachlan.

Another popular program over the summer is the centre's Girl Power camp for girls between eight and 13. The camp is designed to foster self-confidence and self-esteem for girls, and includes activities and crafts.

Back in February, the centre was successful in an application for funding through the Community Services department's Action Team on Sexual Violence and Bullying.

Through the funding, the centre hired Audrey Bailey, who will be working on improving support for sexual assault victims and their families. She will be working in collaboration with Margaret Mauger of the Colchester Sexual Assault Centre.

"She'll be looking at the needs of the community and how we can better our resources here for victims and their families, and also offer some specialized services," said MacLachlan.

Another initiative the centre is undertaking is seeking donations of gift cards to local grocery stores.

"Based on some of the requests we have been getting, people need a little bit more help, even when it comes to food," MacLachlan said, noting that local churches and the food bank are stretched thin. "Sometimes food is an issue so it's something we hope we can offer."

Twitter: @TDNRaissa


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