Staff at the North Point Douglas Women’s Centre are reeling after learning the organization will lose $120,000 in provincial funding it receives through the Neighbourhoods Alive program, executive director Tara Zajac says.
The funds account for nearly a quarter of the centre’s total annual budget and may end the small facility’s drop-in centre capacity.
Many organizations already had their funding frozen while the Progressive Conservative government reviewed the Neighbourhoods Alive program, which provides support for community-driven revitalization.
News of the Pallister government’s funding decisions has begun filtering out to the various affected groups.
“I actually think I just froze,” Zajac said as she fought back tears while describing getting a phone call about the cut.
“Like many other organizations funded by Neighbourhoods Alive, we just haven’t known for a while and you just hope that you are going to hear the good news.”
The cut will mean 4.5 positions could be lost and services such as emergency food assistance, a free phone, computer access and the centre’s donation-gathering abilities may be lost.
Zajac said the cut might put the centre back as much as seven years in terms of the services it offers.
“We are a women’s centre, but we are also the resource centre for all of North Point Douglas and I don’t know where people will go now,” Zajac said.
The centre has some great partners who have been supportive, Zajac says, but she’s not sure if they can help pick up the lost revenue.
She said losing the province as a partner will have an instant impact.
“We change lives every day,” Zajac said.
The centre is holding a rally on Friday in hopes of having funding restored.
“This is a direct attack on the health and safety of women and their families in North Point Douglas,” the group stated in a post to its Facebook page Thursday.
“Your support is needed to show the government that this funding is essential to our community.”