The Nelson and District’s Women’s Centre unveiled their newly renovated kitchen with a open house today. Established in 1972, the longest running women’s centre in rural Canada was full of visitors this afternoon for guided tours of the centre.
The centre is for self-identified women and co-director Karoline Kemp said many women who come to the centre are new to the community. The staff and volunteers are all trained in peer counselling and they provide a lot of referrals for women who may come to them in crisis.
“One of the most relied upon services provided by the Women’s Centre is the provision of supplementary free food, which we give out during our Drop-In hours (from 12-4 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday),” said Kemp.
Almost 3,000 women accessed the centre last year. Kemp said since the new kitchen was finalized this summer, the bright and open space is where you will find most of the women, chatting, preparing food and sharing resources.
Looking ahead, the now functional kitchen, which was previously a “cubbyhole”, will allow the centre to expand it’s services with new workshops beginning in November.
“Generous women from the community will be offering workshops on canning/preserving, fermentation, and cooking healthy food on a budget, and we are so thrilled to be able to offer this kitchen space to the women of Nelson,” said Kemp. “(We) look forward to getting together and planning and cooking delicious meals, as well as offering fresh and healthy local food, including produce from our very own garden.”
Kemp said in addition to the three staff which includes herself, co-director Tasha Bassingthwaighte and program coordinator Leah Lychowyd, the centre has received 1,000 hours of service from volunteers in the past year.
In addition to the various resourced based programs, there is a free clothing area, library, internet, and sewing, weaving and art supplies at the centre located at 420 Mill Street.
For more information, visit nelsonwomenscentre.com.