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Grant supports creation of volunteer program at Kingston Interval House

Ecclesiastical Insurance Office plc has announced that Kingston Interval House is one of the recipients of their 2020 Community Impact Grant.

Community Impact Grants are provided to registered charitable organizations across Canada for specific projects designed to help vulnerable and under-represented people who suffer from poverty, homelessness, abuse, or other life crises, according to a release from Ecclesiastical Insurance dated Monday, Dec. 21, 2020.

“Ecclesiastical is proud to protect those who enrich the lives of others and equally proud to give back to the diverse communities we serve across the country. We’re delighted to announce the recipients of our 2020 Community Impact Grant, which we award under the auspices of our charitable trust owner, Allchurches Trust Ltd,” stated David Huebel, President, Ecclesiastical Insurance.

“We are very happy to support Kingston Interval House which is committed to supporting women, children, and youth experiencing violence and to working collaboratively with the community to help interrupt the cycle of domestic abuse and gender-based violence. Due to the increased demand for services, the organization is creating the Kingston Interval House Volunteer Program – a formal volunteer program that will allow the organization to close the gap between program needs and staff capacity to deliver them,” Mr. Huebel continued.

Kingston Interval House has continued to provide services throughout the pandemic. Some of their services have become virtual in order to maintain precautions put in place by public health, the government and the agency. “Our groups for children have been running using zoom as well as our outreach counselling programs. The emergency shelter has been set up to maintain safe distances between residents with lots of additional safety measures in place and our second stage housing has been running as per normal,” said Leigh Martins, Training, Education and Volunteer Coordinator for Kingston Interval House.

The agency says they have been seeing an increase in calls to the crisis line as well as referrals to their outreach programs. Their second stage building has continued to be close to full capacity throughout this period and the shelter has seen a fluctuation of numbers up and down.

“There still seems to be a feeling that women are trying to stay home with their abuser rather than coming into the shelter which is very worrisome,” Martins continued. “We have so many protocols in place to keep women safe but it is understandable that for a lot of women, it would be one more worry or stress to have to move into a shelter in the middle of a pandemic.”

When asked for details on what Interval House will do with the grant money, Martins said it will support their volunteer program.

“We had to go without a volunteer program for a number of years due to funding cuts and have finally been able to get it back up and running. Even in the middle of a pandemic, we have been able to have volunteers working with us in ways that allow them to work alone, maintain outdoor physical distancing, or work virtually for us. It is our vision to have volunteers helping in many other areas of our work once the pandemic, and the measures we need to have in place, can change again. Our volunteers help to support many of our programs through their work and it directly helps our clients. We have been very lucky to have a number of very committed and passionate women step forward to volunteer their time with us this year and we look forward to the new year and when we can open up more options for our volunteers,” she shared.

When asked how the Kingston community can support Kingston Interval House, Martins suggested they are always accepting brand new items, monetary donations and gift cards. “These have been especially helpful during the pandemic when we were able to offer all of our clients in the shelter, second stage and outreach programs gifts and gift cards to get food, toys, etc.”

“Our community is so amazing,” she continued. “Whenever we have a need, there is always such a positive response to help our agency. We also are trying to advertise our services as much as possible to ensure that women, children and youth that are in need of our services, know how to get a hold of us. We use our social media to spread messages and awareness about Domestic Abuse and violence against women and always appreciate it if people follow us and share our posts. Every little bit helps to spread the message about what we do at KIH and how we can help.”

According to the release, Ecclesiastical’s goal is to support initiatives that make a positive and sustainable impact on their communities and are proud that the 2020 grant-supported programs continue that trend. Projects include: a program that transforms vacant homes into affordable rental housing for people who are homeless; literacy support programs for children, youth and adults; counselling sessions for single parents; essential, responsive and empowering services for people who have experienced the impact of violence against women; social and recreational programs for older adults; programs to reduce food insecurity; and support services for people with developmental disabilities.

“Everyone in our community has a role to play to interrupt the cycle of domestic abuse and gender-based violence. We are ecstatic and very fortunate that Ecclesiastical Insurance has chosen to invest in women to help get us another step closer to ending violence against women. Kingston Interval House looks forward to partnering with Ecclesiastical on this new and exciting initiative,” said Pam Havery, Executive Director, Kingston Interval House.

For more information on all of the charities receiving grants, visit www.ecclesiastical.ca/CIG2020

Learn more about Kingston Interval House on their website: http://kingstonintervalhouse.com and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

About Ecclesiastical

Ecclesiastical Insurance Office plc is a specialist commercial insurance company. They are deeply committed to serving the insurance needs of organizations that enrich the lives of others; to preserving Canada’s distinct communities, cultures, and history; and to supporting initiatives that help eradicate poverty and improve the lives of people in need.

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