RICHMOND COUNTY: A local project focused on addressing gender-based violence through community consultation and support will be launching in Richmond County on May 24 at 6 p.m. with a launch event to be held at the St. Louis Parish Hall in Louisdale.

Circles of Support and Change, a project administered by the Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre with support from Women and Gender Equality Canada, uses a strengths-based, trauma-informed approach to centre the voices of survivors of gender-based violence in supportive circles that include their chosen families, community members, educators, and service providers. The project is active in several communities, including Canso and area, and the African Nova Scotian communities of Sunnyville, Lincolnville, and Upper Big Tracadie.

“We know that there are gaps in informal services and supports within rural areas such as Richmond County,” says Danielle Martell, Strait Richmond Community Facilitator for the Circles of Support and Change Project. “This project will help identify those gaps and increase the knowledge and skills of community members to provide informal support and build their capacity to support themselves and others and help them to navigate their own healing journey. It will also link service providers together to look at ways to improve culturally appropriate service delivery.”

This project is inspired by the Indigenous model developed by Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation, based on several years of effort in that community to provide culturally relevant and trauma-informed support and approaches. It relies on community members to identify what they need and how best to move forward, respecting each community’s cultural and historic strengths and barriers says Karla Stevens, Project Coordinator.

The event, hosted by the Circles of Support and Change Project, will include conversation opportunities, refreshments, and draws for up to $500 of prizes. Residents from any nearby community are encouraged to attend, learn about the project, and share their own experiences throughout Richmond County.

For more information on the Circles of Support and Change Project, and the Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre, visit: https://awrcsasa.ca/community-advocacy/circles-of-support-and-change-project/.