Women’s Outreach looking toward their new home

At almost double the size of their current location, the Central Alberta Women’s Outreach Society’s will open the doors of its new location in April.

The new facility will be located at 5301 43 St. in Red Deer.

“The size in itself is fantastic. We’ve been in our current building 12 years and have expanded programs and staffing but never our office space,” said Executive Director Barb Barber.

The new space will allow the existing programs to function in a more effective space and Barber said it will allow CAWOS to provide more programs as community needs arise.

One of the biggest advantages of the new space is that supervised visitations won’t be limited to specific hours any longer and Barber said it is important to open up the hours to the families they serve.

“Currently, too, we have a nursery school but in our new building we are going to become a licensed day care with the outdoor space that we need for that too,” said Barber.

Some of the services that CAWOS provides to Central Albertans include domestic violence programs for both men and women as well as support services for people as they make the choice to get out of an abusive relationship.

“We are seeing a lot more of men coming to us for help. They come to us for the monitored visitation and use the monitored exchange program as well.”

The monitored exchange program simply allows parents who have split up but have joint custody of a child to transfer the child from one parent’s care to the other in a mediated fashion.

For children, Barber explained, they have a therapeutic support group for children who may have witnessed violence. There is also a corresponding parent portion of that program to help the children as well.

The monitored visitation program is another that benefits children as it allows them to see their other parent in a safe place.

The new space will also include room for the Suicide Information and Education Services (SIES).

Laura MacNeill, executive director of SIES, said it will be a compliment to their services to share a space with CAWOS.

“We do see a tie in between domestic violence and suicide. They have extensive service programs but we also bring the education.”

MacNeill said sharing the building with CAWOS will provide an opportunity to give education on domestic violence as well as suicide.

“To share the space with Suicide Information and Education Services just enhances the services that we have and we can pool our resources and be a little bit more creative with our programming,” said Barber.

With the new building comes a great addition of a training room. Barber said it is quite a large space and will allow CAWOS to run workshops as well as allow other community agencies or groups to come in and rent the space.

“One great relief is that parking will not be an issue. Where we are it’s very difficult to access services because of limited parking,” said Barber.

The new location will provide better parking capacity so Barber said she is looking forward to people who require the services having better access to them.