WINNIPEG — After being closed for nearly five years, a new friendship centre to service the needs of the Indigenous community is making a return.
The Winnipeg Indigenous Friendship Centre will set up shop at 45 Robinson Street following the demolition of the existing building later this month.
“Plans are underway and we will take a phased approach to reconstruction beginning with development of our administrative space and drop-in centre, followed by construction of a larger community gathering space and bingo hall,” says WIFC CEO Rachel Sansregret.
“The final phase of our construction is planning to create supportive and affordable housing for the elderly members of our urban Indigenous community. I am beyond thrilled about each of these phases.”
The centre became incorporated last December and is now a federally registered charity. Fundraiser efforts are underway to help with the rebuilding process.
The administrative space and drop-in centre will be the first spaces to be constructed, followed by the larger community gathering space and bingo hall. The final phase will be to create supportive and affordable housing for the elderly members of the urban Indigenous community.
The centre has a long history in Winnipeg and originally opened in 1957. Under financial constraints, it closed its doors in 2018. In July 2019, a call to revitalize a friendship centre was made and leadership of the Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre, Winnipeg Indigenous Executive Circle and Indigenous Vision for the North End spearheaded efforts to one day reopen the important community hub.
Until the centre is rebuilt, WIFC will offer land-based education centred on Indigenous culture. Education will include traditional gardening practices with a focus on sustainable food sovereignty workshops, such as how to grow a three sisters garden, and how to grow food in small spaces.