A new youth centre is set to open in Yellowknife later this month with a focus on LGBTQ+ youth and young adults.
The Rainbow Centre is set to open at 5122 52 St. and will host a resource library, a space for community groups and agencies to access information about LGBTQ+ identity and a hangout space for youth.
“We know that there’s a need in Yellowknife for a space for LGBTQ+ youth to be able to spend time together, meet one another and offer each other peer support,” said Jacq Brasseur, treasurer and co-chair of the outreach program It Gets Better Yellowknife.
“What we’re really looking forward to is to have a rainbow resource centre, where people can come to a physical space to learn and grow where nobody is being judged.”
The announcement was made on Friday after $28,888 in funding was secured for the new centre. The department of municipal and community affairs (MACA) contributed $13,888 while Yellowknife health and social services provided $15,000.
The centre will be open from 3:30 to 8:00 pm Monday to Friday on a drop-in basis starting August 22, 2016. It Gets Better Yellowknife is set to begin original programming in September with a group of volunteers.
The centre hopes to secure additional funding in the future to expand services, especially for LGBTQ+ youth who are looking for health care in a different setting.
“…with the implementation of the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority (THSSA) on August 1, we look forward to discussing further opportunities for partnership on health and wellness initiatives in the future,” said Les Harrison, CEO of Yellowknife health and social services authority.
The idea for a new centre came about during the Days of Pink event in April. It Gets Better held a youth forum with Mayor Mark Heyck where many expressed the need for a safe community space.
Organizers with It Gets Better Yellowknife then approached government agencies and departments in search of funding.
“Quite often youth in Yellowknife feel quite disempowered and that no one is listening to them,” said Brasseur. “This is our response to say ‘you told us what you needed.’”
If you’re interested in learning more or to find out how you can help out, visit www.itgetsbetteryk.org.