Nova Scotia

Strait Area women's centre saved from closure, for now

The Strait Area Women's Place was threatened with closure when a funding request to the province was turned down.

A women's centre in Port Hawkesbury that was in danger of closing has gotten a temporary reprieve.

The Strait Area Women's Place was threatened with closure when a funding request to the province was turned down.

The centre provides education and support for women in Richmond and Inverness counties.

Marina Martens, director of Leeside Transition House, said her women's shelter opened the centre because it saw a need in the community.

When the centre ran out of funding organizers turned to the province for help, but the department of community services decided not to get involved.

Then a variety of community groups came together to see if they could keep the centre open.

"Everybody kind of went back to their own organization and what not, to see what was possible. The good news is that we scraped together enough between money for rent and donated staff time we have enough to keep the Strait Area Women's Place open for three days a week, which is what we're doing now," said Martens.

Different community groups have offered volunteers to help staff the centre and the Antigonish Women's Resource Centre is taking over the operating costs.

"Oh I was so relieved because we have people that are actively using that service now. And I just didn't know how we were going to break the news that something that they were really benefitting from was going to be taken away," said Martens.

Martens said a new board will now operate the Strait Area Women's Place.

Lucille Harper is director of the Antigonish Women's Centre.

She said they do not have an excess of funds but decided to help out anyway.

"We really believe in this service that's being done so Antigonish has stepped up to the plate to keep it going but it is interim. It is temporary and we do need solid operational funding," she said.

Harper said women's centres clearly fall under the community services mandate.

She said she hopes  the department will reconsider its decision and will provide secure funding to the centre sometime in the next year.

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