“You don’t need an appointment. Just drop in for a coffee or tea and a chat,” says Linley McLean, Executive Director of the Golden Women’s Resource Centre. Located in downtown Golden, the centre offers a safe space for women and their children to get support, access services, including a women’s shelter and outreach worker, and even get together just to socialize and unwind.
Last year, after nearly 40 years in operation the facility was in need of an update. It received support through the Trust’s Community Initiatives and Affected Areas Programs, administered by the Town of Golden. The first project involved upgrading the physical building, including painting over its old bright, high-energy colours with softer, more tranquil tones. The second project involved flooring, as the original floors were damaged from years of wear and tear. Not only do these updates make their space look fresher and more inviting, but staff feel the updates have also had a positive emotional impact on the women the centre serves.
The centre has also received funds to support its services. For example, with help from the Trust’s Social Grants it started Girlz Group, an after-school program that aims to empower young women, promote independent thinking and build positive self-esteem, confidence and relationships.
The centre also initiated a third-party reporting program that gives survivors of sexual assault a way to report incidents anonymously. And it has two new programs that focus on reducing social isolation: Creative Thursdays, where women get together for guided art-making sessions, and Mood Walks, which give women facing barriers the opportunity to expand social ties and become more comfortable in social settings through a weekly facilitated group walk.
As McLean mentioned, women can drop in any time they need or want. “I love the sense of community here, the diversity of the women I get to connect with, their ability to connect with each other and the relationships the centre has with other community organizations.”
She also notes resources like a small kitchen and library, and a play area for children when a mother needs to have a private conversation with staff.
“The centre is an inviting and barrier-free space for anyone regardless of economic or social status, or mental or physical health,” she says. “It gives women a sense of community, and invites safe and confidential conversation, friendship and connection.”
Pictured: Executive Director Linley and staff Roni and Jill
Photos: Claire Dibble