The Women’s Contact Society is now happily settled into its new digs in the community co-operative building across from Safeway on Fourth Avenue.
Staff members provided tours of the new space Monday afternoon prior to the society’s annual meeting in the evening during which Ciel Patenaude was the keynote speaker.
The society recently moved from its old digs above Caribou Ski Source for Sports on First Avenue to the upstairs of the co-operative building.
The new space is a bit smaller than the old space but brings the women’s centre closer to the other community groups which are located in the same building or close by, and share accounting services to save on costs, says activities co-ordinator Ashlee Turatus.
The close proximity also allows the societies to work more collaboratively to meet community needs, Turatus says.
The Women’s Contact Society’s associates are the Child Development Centre, Canadian Mental Health Association, W.L. Association for Community Living, and the Boys and Girls Club. The Caribou Brain Injury Society and collective’s business office is also located in the Women’s Centre which is on the second floor of Fourth Avenue above CMHA.
The spacious new Women’s Centre entrance has a nook painted with happy giraffes to accompany the chairs, games table, books and other games to keep visiting children entertained.
Part of the tour also included a peek in the Child Care Resource and Referral Program’s lending library with Beulah Munson, manager of the society’s children’s services program. The library has all sorts of toys, activity boxes, games, books and things like high chairs and rockers, baby gates professional and family child care providers can borrow for up to a month for a fee of $30.
Munson says grandparents often come into the centre to borrow an activity box or one of the big toys when grandchildren visit.
Child care services also include operation of the Kidcare Daycare at the Williams Lake Secondary Western Campus.
Eva Navrot also showed the work she has done to create The Closet. This is a lovely little room where women returning to the workforce, heading out for a job interview, attending court, or other more formal occasions can find suitable clothing free of charge.
The Williams Lake and District Credit Union initially held a clothing drive to start The Closet which also includes accessories and shoes, Navrot says.
The Closet primarily provides business clothing for women. Any clothing received that doesn’t quite fit that use is donated to other groups such as the Salvation Army or Chiwid House.
The new Women’s Contact Centre includes a board room where activity displays and snacks were set up for the open house; a lunch room where staff can relax on breaks and cooking classes are held with assisted living clients; plus several smaller consultation and meeting rooms. There are also offices where program workers meet with clients.
Incorporated in 1982 as a non-profit society, the Women’s Contact Society exists to provide support and services to all women and girls that improves their quality of life and empowers them to change ideas, laws and situations that deny women equality.
The centre also provides women’s counselling services, legal advocacy services, and runs the Good Food Box program which provides boxes of fresh vegetables at affordable prices by shopping collectively.
The society also provides a wide variety of support for women through workshops on health, education, safety, prevention of human trafficking, and events and support for groups of girls on safety and empowerment.