Sylvan Lake awarded grant to help end family violence

Sylvan Lake recieved a grant for $150,000, REd Deer recieved a gran for $125,000

L-R: Colleen Lewis, regional coordinator, Central Alberta Vision for Non-Violence Coalition, Sean McIntyre, mayor of Sylvan Lake, Tara Veer, mayor of Red Deer, Barb Miller, MLA for Red Deer South, Kim Schreiner, MLA for Red Deer North and Irfan Sabir, Minister of Community and Social Services

Sylvan Lake has been awarded a provincial grant of $150,000 to continue working towards ending family violence and bullying.

The grants were announced by the Government of Alberta on Aug. 17.

Through the Family and Community Safety Program, the grant will work towards creating 13 centres in Central Alberta.

Sylvan Lake, together with Benalto, Bentley, Blackfalds, Bowden, Delburne, Eckville, Elnora, Innisfail, Lacombe, Rimbey, Rocky Mountain House and Stettler have formed the Central Alberta Regional Vision for Non-Violence Coalition.

These new centres will provide “consistent information, resources and referral supports” to those affected by bullying and family violence.

Colleen Lewis, the regional coordinator for the Coalition, says the funding will help begin the process of addressing family violence in Central Alberta.

“We will be using the same language and resources, working towards our common goals and providing seven different education and training opportunities for service providers in our Coalition,” said Lewis.

Lewis says it is very important to have the same resources, that being books, movies and information, available at each of the 13 centres across Central Alberta.

With the same information available across the board and stated in the same language, Lewis says it keeps everyone on the same page.

The regional centres, known as Centre for Positive Relationships, will be created in each of the 13 communities, with each community looking slightly different depending on its needs.

The Centre in Sylvan Lake will have it’s grand opening on Sept. 7 at the Family and Community Centre Gymnasium from 2-3:30 p.m.

Sylvan Lake is leading the way with it’s centre opening first. The rest of the coalition members will open their centres when they feel they are ready. Lewis says they will all be open sometime this fall.

The money from the grant will go towards opening the centres, as well as training for the coalition members.

“We did a survey which shows 75 per cent of our coalition members felt they did not have the adequate training to respond to domestic or family violence,” said Lewis.

The funding will provide training session for the coalition members this fall. The session are in three towns in Central Alberta to make it easy for member to get to the right one for them.

The session will be held in Sylvan Lake, Innisfail and Lacombe.

Later this fall Lewis, as the regional coordinator, will also travel to all the coalition communities to discuss what is being done in each town, and what needs to be done to create a “community action plan” that is right for each community.

Along with the grant to Sylvan Lake, the Government of Alberta also provided a grant to the City of Red Deer to increase capacity for the Housing First program and for services for homeless Albertans.

The City of Red Deer received $125,000 from the province to further these efforts.

This grant is part of the government’s 2017-18 budget to help communities house and support homeless people in their communities. The provincial government planned $2.5-million for this project.

The grant provided to Red Deer is in addition to the nearly $3.5 million provided annually to the city for the Housing First initiative.

Red Deer also received additional funding for the city’s adult emergency shelter.

An additional $36,000 was given to the city to update the shelter’s fire and safety concerns.

“As we continue on the path to eliminate homelessness, the Province, the City and community agencies recognize the importance of working together to respond to our economic climate and the ongoing need for housing and supports for our vulnerable citizens,” said Tara Veer, mayor of Red Deer.

For more information about the Centre for Positive Change or the Central Alberta Regional Vision for Non-Violence Coalition go to www.visionfornonviolence.weebly.com or the coalition’s Facebook page.

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