This week we are spotlighting The Women & Children’s Shelter of Barrie – Barrie, ON. We have asked Heather Croft, the Community Development Manager from the shelter to answer some questions for us:
1. Who visits your shelter(s)? How many per month?
We are a 27 bed shelter that is most often over capacity. Women and children leaving abusive relationships visit/stay at our shelter for a period of 8 – 12 weeks with the possibility of an extension if needed. Children, both male and female, from ages of 0 – 16 years of age stay at the shelter. Our numbers vary every month from single women to large families. Each family gets their own room and then all other areas are communal. We have approximately 500 families that stay at shelter annually and another 1500 families that remain in the community but access our services through our Outreach services.
2. What do the blankets from Urban Barn mean to your organization?
The #1 factor that will affect whether a woman leaves an abusive relationship is a visible increase in the level of community support. The blankets are a sign from our community that people care and support those leaving abusive relationships who are trying to move forward with hope and opportunity. The blankets show that Urban Barn is involved and cares about building a stronger community, one where each person’s life is valued.
3. What is something you’d like people to know about your organization?
We provide non – judgemental support for each family’s situation. We are working proactively to end violence in our community by creating a Youth Outreach Awareness Program and are working with Greater Simcoe high schools to provide education on characteristics of healthy and unhealthy relationships and also conflict resolution among many other topics. We have also purchased a lot to build a 20 unit apartment building within the next 3 years.
4. How can people get involved and help?
We have a number of volunteer opportunities, from administrative, transportation of clients, events and fundraising or cooking and baking in shelter. We run a Winter Sponsorship Program to offer families support at Christmas time. There is also planning a program or event to support shelter needs or raise awareness.