Some 80 people attended a fundraiser for HERS (Haliburton Emergency Rural SafeSpace) at Fleming College on March 8. CHAD INGRAM Staff

Evening raises more than $7800 for shelter 

By Chad Ingram

March 14 2017

There was a sense of deja vu for the women involved in a March 8 fundraiser that brought in some $7845 for the local women’s shelter.

“Here we are again” said Heather Ross to the crowd in the great hall at Haliburton’s Fleming College campus. “This is the fourth time we are fundraising for a women’s shelter in the county.”

The evening of song and speeches organized by volunteer Bonnie Roe raised funds for HERS (Haliburton Emergency Rural SafeSpace) the YWCA-operated women’s shelter located in Minden.

It came to light late last year that the Peterborough Haliburton YWCA had closed emergency shelter located in Minden for five months from late 2015 to spring of 2016 due to a lack of resources.

Increased use of the shelter meant the organization had burned through its resources quicker than usual.

Roe and Ross were part of a group of women who raised money for the shelter when it started in the 1990s as well as fundraising for and volunteering at its predecessor the women’s emergency house which was operated by SIRCH in Haliburton Village during the 1990s.

“Because of no sustained funding it had to be shut down” Ross said. That was in 1998 with fundraising for the creation of HERS taking place in the wake of the emergency house’s closure.

In early 2017 the YWCA starting canvassing local townships for one-time funding support seeking  $120000 for a two-year project that would include the continued operation of the shelter as well as a sustainability study on providing services in rural areas.

The Peterborough-Haliburton YWCA receives 61 per cent of its operating costs from the province fundraising the rest. While all the money raised in Haliburton County stays in Haliburton County most of the money used for local services is fundraised in Peterborough County and transferred.

Haliburton County will be providing $25000 over two years and news of the closure last year has spurred a number of local fundraising efforts.

Local musician Zoe Chilco was instrumental in founding the original women’s shelter.

“We’re a very strong community . . . and a very strong group of women . . . and we’re stubborn and we’re not letting this go” Chilco said as she took the stage to perform a number of self-penned meditations on female empowerment as well as century-old political anthem “Bread and Roses.”

Cassidy Glecoff accompanied by Sage Christiano on percussion also played a number of songs.

Admission to event was by donation and along with a $1000 cheque from the Lions Club the evening brought in $7845.

County residents Susan and Keith Hay have pledged to match local donations dollar-for-dollar to a maximum of $10000 and Ross presented Susan with a guardian angel figurine during the event which took place on International Women’s Day.