The only drop-in for sex trade workers in Prince George, B.C., is expanding its operating hours thanks to a new grant.
The Prince George New Hope Society was struggling to keep its doors open after its funding from the federal government ran out in 2011, meaning it could only afford to open once a week.
But thanks to a new grant from the Canadian Women’s Foundation, the centre will now be able to open three days a week.
Jan Wilson, the centre’s only volunteer, says the news is a welcome relief to their clients.
“Totally happy about that,” she said. “I had more hugs today than you can imagine.”
Wilson says the grant will go towards a new program.
“We’re going to work on literacy and upgrading — health, safety and anti-violence,” she said.
“Then at the end have the girls put what they learned into a story or a poem, however they want to present their story at the end.”
And the money for extended hours couldn’t have come at a better time, said Wilson.
“Everyone thinks Christmas [is a] happy time — you get together with family and friends,” she said. “Well, most of the girls and the women we work with are disassociated with their families.”
Wilson says New Hope will receive a second grant from the Community Action Initiative in January, which will hopefully allow the centre to extend its hours even further.