The Sydney-based harm reduction organization is extending its hours to better meet the needs of the population it serves.The Ally Centre runs a drop-in centre and an overdose prevention site at its Prince St location in Sydney. With new funding from the province, the centre has extended its hours on weeknights and is now open during the weekend.
The Centre’s drop-in centre and overdose prevention site were until recently available between Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. but the funding enables the centre to provide services until 8 p.m. weekdays and open the drop-in centre on weekends from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“When we announced to the clients that the centre will be opened into the evenings and on the weekends, they were so happy!” said Christine Porter, Executive Director, Ally Centre of Cape Breton. “Increasing our hours of operation helps reduce barriers to support and prevention services for those most at risk.”
The centre provides educational programs and other services, including a safe needle exchange, anonymous testing for HIV and other infections, free naloxone kits and training on how to prevent an overdose, peer support, a health clinic, housing support and a food bank. Its drop-in program offers people a safe place to grab a coffee, get answers to questions or referrals to other programs and chat with their neighbours.
The Minister of Addictions and Mental Health, Brian Comer, acknowledged that vulnerable populations require more supports as winter continues to settle in.
“Addictions and mental healthcare is not a nine to five, Monday to Friday job. People need help beyond regular business hours,” said Brian Comer, Minister of Addictions and Mental Health. “This new funding will help some of the most vulnerable in our community get the support they need in a warm, safe place into the evening and on weekends.”
The Office of Addictions and Mental Health is providing $243,000 to fund the extended hours at the Ally Centre.For more information about Nova Scotia’s Take-Home Naloxone Program go here: http://www.nsnaloxone.com/