FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THE MEN’S CENTRE IS CLOSING
Nanaimo, BC – MAY 9, 2018
After 16 years, the Men’s Centre is closing its doors. The Centre has been operating out of the mid island area since 2002 and has served the unique needs of men; fathers, boys, and families all over BC. The Centre has supported men in the areas of maintaining father child connection, male suicide prevention (4:1 vs women and 8:1 during separation/divorce), getting back to work programs, free clothing programs, domestic violence prevention, free counseling, depression, homelessness (80% male), addiction issues (opioid crisis 80% male), seniors programs, workplace deaths (90% male), and much more. Each year the Centre has saved lives by preventing domestic violence and suicide.
Mid island communities, such as Duncan, Ladysmith, Parksville, Port Alberni, Courtenay/Comox, and Campbell River make up 60% of the clientele, and about 40% come from other areas around BC. The Men’s Centre has helped men from communities as geographically diverse asTerrace, Prince Rupert, Kelowna, Vernon, Revelstoke, Nelson, Castlegar, Quesnel, Williams Lake, Prince George, Victoria, Vancouver,and many more. There are few specialized resources for men in communities around BC and The Men’s Centre in Nanaimo is the only men’s centre in BC with a full range of services. Other resources are scarce and are limited to an occasional men’s group or individual counselor. Numerous men’s centres have started up in the last 16 years, but the life of a men’s centre seems to be limited to 1-2 years because of the lack of government support.
In November 2017, Men’s Centre representatives met with the Solicitor General of BC, Mr. Mike Farnworth, and Nanaimo MLA Mr. Leonard Krog. At that meeting, Mr. Farnworth committed to working with Mr. Krog to solve the long term financial sustainability problems of the Centre. Six months later nothing significant has happened. The Centre’s representatives believe in the sincerity of Mr. Farnworth and the hard work of Mr. Krog to help with those ongoing financial challenges. However, what has become most clear is that it is the bureaucrats who are blocking the progression of that financial aid and sabotaging the needs of men, fathers, sons, brothers, uncles, and nephews around BC. Women’s resources receive well over $100M in provincial government funding annually (money well spent), however men’s resources are generally not funded at all, or funded at less than 1% of the women’s total. The needs of men are equitable to the needs of women and yet they continue to be put on the back burner or swept under the rug by the governments of the day. Why is it that a men’s centre, which has the expertise and knows what unique services men require, cannot fully offer these services and help bring balance to the problems that face our families and communities?
The bureaucrats in Mr. Farnworth’s Ministry, and other Ministries, continue to cling to the erroneous assumptions that many resources exist for men. They continually cite the 160 victim services offices around the province as adequate services for men. They acknowledge that some of those services are restricted to women only, but continue to believe that the other services, offered and run by women, are adequate. What they fail to see is that services run by women, however well-meaning those women may be, do not serve the unique needs of men. What would they say to women’s centres being run by men?
The Men’s Centre can no longer function on a song and a prayer. Community support has been fantastic over 16 years, but it doesn’t pay the bills. With only short term grant funding, struggling to survive year after year, the Centre has been unable to do any long term planning, consistently has had to cut programs and staff, and although the staff and volunteers have been great, it is impossible to retain the best staff operating in the kind of insecure working environment that minimal short term funding creates. It is time for the provincial government to step up to the plate and fund The Men’s Centre adequately. If not, the Centre will have to close its doors. It would be a very sad day for the men and their families of this province if this one special resource for men were to be lost.
For more information go to: www.themenscentre.ca
The Men’s Centre is a not-for-profit registered BC Society and a Canadian registered Charitable organization offering support, referrals, and educational services to fathers, boys, men and their families. The centre promotes community awareness of men’s unique needs and provides programs for individuals and groups. Information and programs are available for divorce and separation issues, free counselling, domestic violence prevention, anger management, legal support, parental alienation, family maintenance enforcement issues, back to work programs, supervised access, help and accommodation for men fleeing domestic violence, and personal growth.
For more information about these services at The Men’s Centre call (250) 716-1551 or log on to their website at www.themenscentre.ca
Theo J. Boere
The Men’s Centre
418D Fitzwilliam St.