Family Resource Centres vital to neighbourhood health

Study shows negative cycles are broken, strength and empowerment are gained through Family Resource Centres

An isolated mother connects with neighbours and takes a parenting class. Pre-school kids are fed and enjoy an educational play room. A low-income family does their laundry, while a phone and computer help someone with their job search.

Doing laundry at the Andrews Street Family Centre in Winnipeg's North End

Doing laundry at the Andrews Street Family Centre in Winnipeg’s North End

These things happen quietly, every day, in neighbourhoods across Winnipeg at Family Resource Centres — outposts of strength and support for people who need a little extra help.

The Plessis Road Family Resource Centre in Transcona feeds about 60 children before school.

The Plessis Road Family Resource Centre in Transcona feeds about 60 children before school.

A before-school breakfast program is also a time for positive interaction and learning. About 150 to 200 people access Plessis Road FRC each day to eat, socialize, do crafting, laundry, use the computer or get counselling.

A before-school breakfast program is also a time for positive interaction and learning. About 150 to 200 people access Plessis Road FRC each day to eat, socialize, do crafting, laundry, use the computer or get counselling.

A 2015 United Way Winnipeg study looked at 22 centres in our city. It concluded that Family Resource Centres are critical to the health of our neighbourhoods.

“This centre was the first time I was stable for my kids… they have a stability that I didn’t have as a kid. This place is an anchor,” said a mother in the study.

Dawn found a sense of safety, home and family at Andrews Street after leaving an abusive situation.

Dawn says she found a sense of safety, home and family at Andrews Street after leaving an abusive situation.

Study participants reported breaking negative cycles. They found strength, empowerment, and learned to trust and build their self-esteem.

“The Centre helped me find myself again. Being involved gave me a sense of purpose… I started reflecting on what I needed to do to get my life on track again.”

There's always time for a hug at Wolseley Family Place.

There’s always time for a hug at Wolseley Family Place.

The Winnipeg study — Possibility & Opportunity — found holistic, strength-based and preventative approaches at Family Resource Centres are helping vulnerable individuals, families and neighbourhoods become stronger.

Single mother Angela learned to read through Westgrove Family Resource Centre in Charleswood, and now helps neighbours who are newcomers struggling with English.

Single mom Angela learned to read through Westgrove Family Resource Centre in Charleswood, and now helps neighbours who are newcomers struggling with English.

They are bonding families and creating better outcomes for children and our shared future.
To celebrate 50 years of caring in Winnipeg, United Way is focusing on this essential network of support for families and kids.

Through United Way, Winnipeggers support 24 Family Resource Centres that provided help to more than 35,000 people in Winnipeg last year. It’s ordinary, everyday magic that is geared to the needs of individual communities.

The Up Shoppe, a social enterprise of the North End Women's Centre, teaches skills and is a source of low-cost quality clothing and household items in the community.

The Up Shoppe, a social enterprise of the North End Women’s Centre, teaches skills and is a source of low-cost quality clothing and household items in the community.

“I know from my work as a public health nurse decades ago that some families have more complicated lives than I do,” said United Way Winnipeg president and CEO Connie Walker during a recent visit to see the breakfast program and ‘walking school bus’ at the Plessis Road Family Resource Centre.

The 'walking school bus' was begun by the Plessis Road Family Resource Centre to improve school attendance.

The ‘walking school bus’ from the Plessis Road Family Resource Centre was a community-driven idea to improve school attendance.

“When families live in difficult circumstances there are things our communities can do to help.”

This year, consider a special gift for Family Resource Centres, and help build a stronger Winnipeg by supporting these front lines of compassion, caring, and hope for families throughout our city.

Donate online at www.unitedwaywinnipeg.ca/give or by calling 204-477-UWAY (8929).

DLittle Photo June 5 2015 0008

24 United Way-supported Family Resource Centres throughout Winnipeg.

24 United Way-supported Family Resource Centres throughout Winnipeg.

Originally published by Canstar Community News.