What is a Women’s Centre? Many community-based Women’s Centres in British Columbia were started in the 1970s or early 1980s with two main purposes: a.) to provide a space for empowerment, connection and support as well as much needed programs and services for women in the community, and b.) to advance the social, economic, political and legal status of women by advocating for social change on a broad range of issues.
Most Centres today still follow these purposes by operating from feminist perspectives and by responding to the current needs and issues of women in their communities.
Is the NSWC only for women experiencing abuse? Violence against women is an extremely prevalent and serious issue for any community, including the North Shore. Unfortunately, at least 1 in 3 women or girls will experience some form of violence in their lifetime, whether it is physical, emotional, verbal, sexual, or financial. Most often, this violence takes place within an intimate relationship such as dating, marriage, or common-law partnership or within a family or extended-family context. It affects women and girls across backgrounds, religions, cultures, countries, ethnicities, sexual orientations, abilities and incomes. For these reasons, the NSWC is committed to providing programs and services to women who have experienced violence and to work toward ending violence against women by raising public awareness and advocating for relevant social policies and practices.
The North Shore Women’s Centre strives to be a safe and supportive space for women from all backgrounds and addresses a wide range of experiences – violence and abuse being only one aspect. We welcome all women to the Centre to access information, resources or support on any issue and to participate in our many different programs. Within our mandate and capacity, we will do our best to provide appropriate supports or offer referrals to other organizations.
Does the Centre accept donations of clothing or furniture? Currently, the North Shore Women’s Centre does not have the capacity to accept most donations of clothing or furniture.
Instead, for clothing donations we recommend contacting the Good Stuff Connection Clothing Program and Thrift Store operated by North Shore Crisis Services Society, the agency that runs the North Shore transition house for women leaving abusive relationships. They can be reached at: 154 West 3rd Street in North Vancouver (between Lonsdale Avenue and Chesterfield, on North side of street), 604.987.1773, extension 313, www.nscss.net.
For clothing or furniture donations, we recommend contacting Helping Families in Need Society at: 1679B Gilmore Ave. at 1st Ave. in Burnaby, 604-294-3087, www.helpingfamiliesinneed.org.
We are able to accept some smaller donations of women’s clothing, particularly warm winter coats, fleece jackets, sweaters, t-shirts and jeans, and new socks and underwear. Please contact us in advance.
The North Shore Women’s Centre also warmly welcomes cash donations, donations of fiction books by women authors, non-fiction books on issues of interest to women, photocopying/printing paper and other stationary items, toiletries for distribution (e.g. shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrushes, feminine hygiene products, body lotions, hair styling products, soaps, etc.), non-perishable food for distribution (e.g. canned and tetra-pak soups, canned fish, pasta, rice, grains, cereal, nut butters, soy/rice/almond milk, pasta and tomato sauce, crackers, canned fruits and vegetables, coffee and tea, etc.), and small gifts for women and children. If you are unsure about a possible donation or wish to donate something a little out of the ordinary, please just contact us to inquire about our need and capacity at that time. We thank all donors for their consideration and generosity.
How is the NSWC funded? The North Shore Women’s Centre receives funding from a variety of sources, principally: government and foundation grants, donations, fundraising events and membership.
At the end of April 2004, the North Shore Women’s Centre, along with all Centres across BC, had their core operating funding cut by 100%. The on-going contract for women’s centre services with the Provincial Government was not renewed. As a result, our Centre had to seek other sources of funding, and began organizing fundraising opportunities, including fundraising events. For two years in a row, 2005/2006, Eve Ensler’s a large-scale fundraising event.
How long has the Centre been around? The North Shore Women’s Centre was founded in 1973 by a group of women who were taking a course called, “Explorations” at Capilano College (now Capilano University) in North Vancouver.
Are men allowed in the Centre? The North Shore Women’s Centre is a safe space for women, female youth and women with children. Recognizing the existing inequities, social barriers and forms of oppression facing women, our centre is focused on providing support, addressing needs and engaging in social advocacy on behalf of women in our communities. We acknowledge our male allies and encourage men to participate in the movement towards equality by challenging sexism and other oppressions individually, culturally and institutionally.
What happens at the Centre? The Centre is a drop-in space where women from different backgrounds and experiences come to access resources, programs, support, information and answers to questions they may have regarding a wide range of issues. Women can explore the space on their own, speak directly with a staff member, browse our library, use our public access computers, have tea.
How can I support the Centre or get involved? There are many ways to get involved with the centre and we would love to
have you be a part of our organization. Depending on your area of interest,
capacity to support and available time, we have a number of possibilities for
You could - become a member and be a part of a diverse network of women; be
added to our mailing list and receive monthly emails about our workshops and
other special events; donate to the centre and contribute directly to
financially sustaining our ongoing programs and services; or become a volunteer,
contribute your unique set of skills and work with us one-on-one to assist in
maintaining the centre. Any way you decide - we welcome you to the North Shore Women's Centre community!
Where is the Centre located and when is it open? The Centre is located at 131 East 2nd Street in North Vancouver, half a
block east of Lonsdale Avenue and 3 blocks north from the Seabus
terminal. It looks like a small house and is light blue in colour.