Created in 1973, the St. John’s Women’s Centre is the charitable non-profit arm of the St. John’s Status of Women Council. The Women’s Centre is dedicated to providing women-centred, community-based programs delivered within a safe, non-judgemental, open, and caring environment. Throughout its long history, the Women’s Centre was instrumental in opening the first transition house for women fleeing domestic violence and was home to the first rape crisis centre in the province.
For more than 45 years, the Women’s Centre has offered support and programs on many issues that affect women’s lives, including social isolation, mental health, violence, marginalisation, poverty, housing, trauma, and system navigation. All of our programs and services are women-focused and for women only and aim to provide opportunity for personal growth, empowerment, and social connection. All programs are offered free of charge.
Right Here, Right Now drop-in counselling program for women
What: Right Here, Right Now drop-in counselling is a program that provides single session therapy to women and women identified (18 and over) in the St. John’s area.
When: Tuesdays between 12-7 p.m. and Wednesdays from 12-5 p.m.
Where: The St. John’s Women’s Centre – 170 Cashin Avenue Extension. Our building is wheelchair accessible and parking is available.
What should I expect? No appointment or referral is required. Women can simply come by during drop-in hours to receive counselling. The process usually takes about 1.5 hours. We see women on a first come-first serve basis and do our best to accommodate everyone who shows up.
What can I talk about? Women or women identified can talk about any issues that are impacting their daily lives. Women come with various concerns, for example: personal or job stress, emotional and mental health issues, grief and loss, the stresses of poverty, alcohol and drug use, separation and divorce, intimate partner violence/domestic violence, gendered/2SLGBTQ+ issues, and others.
Why: Overall, there are long wait lists and a shortage of mental health professionals available for women-centred mental health services that can be accessed when they are most needed. Our vision is to provide a program to women that is useful either as a stand-alone service or as a stopgap service while women wait to connect to other services in the community.
Using a feminist, strengths-based, trauma informed approach, our groups are designed to work with women who have experienced or are experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV). Women can self-refer to any of our groups by calling the Women’s Centre or referrals can also come from social workers, government and/or community agencies. When funding is available women receive often crucial transportation and childcare stipends.
Funded by the provincial Department of Justice and Public Safety, this closed, eight-week support group is designed specifically for women who have recently experienced or are currently experiencing intimate partner violence. Each session is specifically designed to embark on important conversations about IPV and its impact on women, while also providing an opportunity for women to build community and find supports and resources. This group is offered in the spring, fall, and winter of each year.
Helping Mothers Thrive
This closed, ten-week support group is designed to support mothers who feel their parenting has been impacted by intimate partner violence. Through facilitator and peer support, women will have the opportunity to rediscover their skills and strengths, explore new parenting skills, and identify the challenges IPV can have on family dynamics, whether women are currently in or out of the relationship. Women must have had prior support through individual or group counselling on the issue of intimate partner violence. This group is offered yearly.
Rebuilding Ourselves After Abusive Relationships (ROAAR)
This closed, 16-week narrative therapy group is for women who have experienced intimate partner violence who are ready to move beyond how the experience has shaped and defined them. Women must have had prior support through individual or group counselling on the issue of intimate partner violence. This group is offered yearly.
Thursday Tea Time
The Thursday afternoon Drop-In Lunch & Information session has changed its name to Tea Time. It is offered year-round and serves tea/coffee with a nutritious snack. Participants are encouraged to network, socialize, with old and new friends as well as connect with staff and volunteers. There will be a Department of Advanced Education and Skills (AES) and Mental Health and Addictions worker (Eastern Health) still available should you wish to meet with them during this program to get assistance with system navigation right on site.
Information Sessions and Workshops
Information sessions and activities on a range of topics, including healthy living, mindfulness, sexual assault awareness and cervical screening awareness, heart health, diabetes, healthy relationships and consent will be held throughout the year to provide opportunity to engage in a variety of topics.
Clothing Boutique Program & Personal Care Pantry Program
Our Clothing Boutique Program is available to any woman in the community and appointments are available monthly on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This program has been a great resource to women experiencing homelessness, living on fixed or low incomes, experiencing violence, or simply seeking something new to wear.
Distributed through the Clothing Boutique, the Personal Care Pantry Program provides an array of hygiene products for women and their families free of charge. On average, approximately 650 appointments are made annually, not including numerous emergency referrals. Gently used clothing and new personal care items are donated to the Centre regularly by the caring community and as-needed drives.
Knitting Nook will run on Friday mornings from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. from May 3-31, 2019. No registration is necessary, just drop by the Women’s Centre. Knitters of all skill levels are welcome, no experience necessary! The group will be making scarves to donate to Thrive’s Street Reach program.
The Women’s Centre is a true believer in nurturing new mastery and/or skill building through a variety of crafting and creative sessions. We invite different community members and local artists to come share their skill or talent with us throughout the year. These sessions are promoted on the Women’s Centre monthly calendar and Facebook page.
Pre-Release Program at the Newfoundland and Labrador Correctional Centre for Women
Every five weeks, a staff member visits the Correctional Centre in Clarenville, Newfoundland (140 km west of St. John’s) as part of their pre-release process to talk about programs in the community. The Clothing Boutique and Personal Care Pantry Program have been great resources for women transitioning back into the community from the Correctional Centre. In addition to providing much-needed clothing and personal items, visits to the Women’s Centre following release help prevent the isolation and loneliness that often result in recidivism.
The St. John’s Women’s Centre offers a variety of free programs that encompass mind, body, and soul. Yoga and Meditation, for example, are open to all skill levels. Our holistic programs aim to build strength, tap into one’s personal energy, are designed to heal, uplift, and inspire, and leave participants feeling empowered.
We will continue to offer interesting and inspiring programs to all women in a safe, supportive women-only space. Some additional examples of the Women’s Centre’s recent programs and projects are:
Free massage clinics, mindfulness workshops, walking/running clubs (seasonal), crafts, drumming circles, creative writing classes, container gardening, violence awareness, music programs, healthy living series, mental health information sessions, menopause discussions, vision boarding workshops, and much more. There is always something new happening at the St. John’s Women’s Centre.