January 31, 2007 Vancouver BC
On Thursday January 25, 2007 the City of Vancouver approved the interim report from Phase 1 of the feasibility study to develop a new community centre for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGTB) communities. The report reflects a breadth of input and diverse representation from the LGTB communities, provides a comprehensive understanding of both current and future needs and demonstrates personal and community commitment to creating a new space that will enhance The Centre’s current programming and activities.
885 individuals responded during the input process through a variety of channels including focus groups, an online survey, town-hall meetings and paper surveys that were distributed throughout the communities and with wide circulation through Xtra West. When summarizing the message received by the PFAME Board, who provides governance for The Centre, Rebecca Shields, Co-Chair, states “What’s exciting is consensus among community members that The Centre’s activities and programs are vital for the health, wellbeing and cultural connections of LGTB individuals. And virtually all of the respondents told us that we need an improved, accessible and welcoming space to meet these needs.”
Betty Baxter, the Phase 1 consultant, echoed those comments and added, “I was overwhelmed by the passion of the respondents for an inclusive space. But, what struck me the most is that over 70% of survey respondents said they would volunteer at and contribute to the development of the new Centre, 58% would help fundraise and more than half would contribute financially to the ongoing operation of a new Centre. That signals a level of commitment that can turn ideas into reality. ”
Donna Wilson, Executive Director of The Centre, is buoyed by the report. “We have achieved our goal of listening to our communities about their vision of a new Centre and we can finally move forward together. We’re ready to build on the dream of an accessible, cultural, social, functional and safe space where we can begin to add new and exciting programs and activities to the already well established resources we currently offer.”
Two models were proposed from Phase 1. The first is a newly developed building and the second is a hub and satellite model. The next steps, in Phase 2 of the feasibility study, will be to flesh out the two models; determine the capital, operational and community partnerships needed; and measure the capacity of our communities to realize the vision of a new Centre. “We look forward to starting that process”, says Wilson.
The Centre is a community centre serving and supporting lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual people and their allies. The Centre touches the lives of more than 30,000 individuals every year, through the Gab Youth Services Program; Education and Outreach within the LGTB communities and with health and social service sectors; the LGTB Generations Project for aging and older LGTB people; the Prideline Information and Referral line; Anti-Violence resources, Coming Out and Social Support Groups, Counseling, Meeting Space, Out on the Shelves Library; skill development and volunteerism; and a host of other resources that celebrate LGTB identities and culture and build on the strengths of individuals and communities.
For more information:
Donna Wilson, Executive Director