Event planning program aims to reduce barriers

NANAIMO – The Place is a new program through the Nanaimo Women's Centre that aims to help families that have experienced trauma.

New provincial funding will help put event planning into the hands of Nanaimo families that have experienced trauma.

The B.C. government has announced it will provide close to $189,000 to Nanaimo Women’s Resources Society for The Place, a budding program at the local women’s centre.

According to a press release, the dollars are part of $2.9 million distributed to 16 community-based projects that promote positive mental health in B.C.

While the details of the program are still being worked out, the idea is to help families feeling isolated by experiences with trauma, as well as addictions and mental health issues, by getting them involved in event planning.

Participants work together to build a cultural event, or series of cultural events through workshops and mentorship – something not often made available without a price attached, or without families facing a sense of stigma, says Lesley Clarke, executive director for the society’s Nanaimo Women’s Centre.

“This program takes down those barriers,” said Clarke, who believes the project will give people a sense they have something to give the community and be appreciated for. “Often people who are struggling are seen as recipients rather than as agents of change and I think to be healthy, people need to be appreciated for their capacity as well.”

The new provincial funding will be spread out over three years and won’t cover the entire cost of The Place, which will be looking for a $20,000 annual top up in grants and financial and in-kind donations, but Clarke said it’s a good base.

“This money is not easy to get and we are really pleased that we had the support that we needed and that there was the level of interest from participation to get to the point where it happened for us,” she said.

For more information, or to be a participant with The Place, please call the Nanaimo Women’s Centre at 250-753-0633.