Brenda Strafford Society Community Room Improvements

The Cause

The Brenda Strafford Society for Prevention of Domestic Violence is more than just a shelter for women and children who have experienced family violence. Since 1996, we have provided our clients with resources such as counsellors, child care and support groups to help them heal from the years of abuse they experienced. Slowly over time, our women and children call the shelter their home and the staff and other clients their family. With this environment, they can gain the strength and confidence to move back to the community and live on their own.

Throughout our shelter, we try to make our spaces as warm, inviting and relaxing as possible. This includes our counsellors' offices where our clients need to feel comfortable to talk about anything that is on their mind, whether that is their past, current needs or future goals. They also use larger rooms such as our Board Room and Group Room for support groups, tenant meetings and special events. However, the group room is infrequently used because of the limited seating options and dated/uninviting appearance.

We would like to make the group room into a more inviting and usable space for our clients, like the rest of our rooms, by refreshing it with the following changes:

- The walls would be repainted using brighter and warmer colours.
- New flooring would be installed.
- Seating arrangements would be changed with new couches and the addition of chairs.
- Computer stations will be upgraded to make space more comfortable and create additional work space.
- Additional lamps will be purchased to create a relaxed environment versus the bright fluorescent lights.
- Larger storage shelves will be purchased to store items such as books for the library and children's activities.

Upon completion of the renovation, we believe that community room will have a more welcoming for our clients. We hope that the changes and additions will encourage them to use it individually or in larger group settings (such as group counselling sessions, informal family gatherings or other client led activities).

Who Will it Benefit?

Since our doors first opened in 1996, The Brenda Strafford Society has helped hundreds of women and children who have experienced family violence. Last year, we saw over 170 women and 230 children call the Society their home.

These individuals and families come to us after facing numerous types of abuse such as emotional, physical, sexual and financial. When they arrive, they are seeking safety and security but over time their needs grow. Eventually, our women hope to move back to the community as strong independent adults capable of supporting themselves and their family.

The journey to independence can take up to two and a half years but we set up spaces that are warm and inviting to aid our clients through the journey. By creating this environment, we hope that our women and children will feel the courage to talk about their history, achieve personal goals that seemed impossible before and build trusting relationships again.

Our proposed project will take the current Group Room and transform it from its current state into a more inviting and relaxing space that will encourage all of our 85 families to use the space more often. At completion, the room will feel like an extension of their current homes at The Brenda Strafford Society where their kids can play or families can connect with each other year round.