New space for Winnipeg's North End Family Centre expected to improve services
New location - 1344 Main Street - attracts a crowd of supporters at Saturday event
While Winnipeg's North End Family Centre has only moved down the street from its prior location, the new space is expected to make a world of difference.
On Saturday, community members gathered at the new location, 1344 Main Street, to celebrate.
"It's exciting because we got to triple our space and therefore we're able to offer our programming more efficiently, more effectively and — most importantly — more respectfully," said Kyle Mason, founder and executive director of the North End Family Centre.
The previous location (a few doors down at 1322 Main Street) had a living room which was often used for gatherings, workshops and classes.
"Plus, we've now added a multipurpose room, where people can come down and we hope to add some after-school programming down the road," Mason said.
"We've added a community shop, which is brand new, where we hand out toiletries like soap, shampoo and tampons."
Another new space is the community group room, which will be used for men's and women's groups. At the previous location, such group meetings took place in the living room and, to ensure a respectful setting, the centre would have to close the doors. Not so with the new community group room.
"We've always made sure even before we opened our first location that we've asked the community what they wanted and what they needed. We never wanted to make assumptions for our friends," Mason said.
"A new space means a greater impact and more lives changed," he added. "We're here to help families and individuals get the essential tools they need to get out of and stay out of poverty."
One of the centre's friends, Stan, is hoping to start a cooking group at the new space.
"Well, this is a family centre and it feels like a family so why not cook and eat together, right?" he said.
"Mondays and Fridays I would cook and clean, do everything, and then we'd just all eat in that room, the community group room."
The idea is a great fit for a place that's foundation is built on relationships, according to E.J., the centre's program coordinator.
"I find that I have really good relationships with the community members so it's not as hard for me to help them through their situations," she said.
"A lot of our community members come here and they tell us that this place is family so it's nice to have this homey space for the community members to come here and have that sense of belonging."