Victim Services gets office space in Kemptville

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Victim Services of Leeds and Grenville (VSLG) now has office space in Kemptville, thanks to a local community-minded entrepreneur. Compassionate Support for Stressful Times (CSST) owner, Shulamit Ber Levtov, says her business has a social mandate to help fill the gap in health services in North Grenville and the surrounding area. So, when Executive Director of VSLG, Sonya Jodoin, contacted her about office space in her clinic, she jumped at the idea. “It was a no-brainer,” she says. “We have the space, so I am going to donate it.”

Alyssa MacDonald of VSLG says having a brick and mortar location in which to see clients in North Grenville fills a huge gap. Although they have offices in Prescott and Brockville, and do visit people at their homes in North Grenville, they have been seeing the need for space in the area for several years. “It’s really important, because Kemptville is lacking in services,” she says. “Having the office space is very beneficial.”

Transportation is a huge barrier in rural areas for people in need of accessing services. Having VSLG in the heart of North Grenville will break down that barrier and allow people to access help more easily. Shulamit has also been a counsellor with the Victim Quick Response Program for five years, which helps victims of violent crimes access help quickly and free of charge. Referrals for this program come through VSLG, which is another reason why this partnership is a perfect fit.

Alyssa will be providing support for victims of crime and tragic circumstance, which includes emotional support and safety planning. She is also VSLG’s Family Court Support Worker and is well versed in helping people navigate the court system. She says a lot of her cases come through referrals from the police, but more and more people are also self-referring to VSLG. “The police do not have to be involved,” she says.

Shulamit points out that having VSLG in the space is part of a network of support she and a few other members of her team are trying to build. On March 19, Sonya of VSLG and Meagan Cumming of CSST made a presentation to council outlining their idea for a sexual assault crisis centre in North Grenville. “The centre is its own separate thing, but there is a natural partnership with Victim Services,” Shulamit says. “It is part of building the web.”

Mayor Nancy Peckford believes that having an office where people can access VSLG services in North Grenville is a wonderful development for the community. It is, she says, just one example of how community-minded local business owners are, and how North Grenville is growing into a vibrant and thriving community. “Creating opportunities for heath and wellness goes beyond the business itself,” Mayor Peckford says about the new partnership. “It benefits the community as a whole. The win here is tremendous.”

VSLG will be holding office hours at CSST every Friday, from 9am-5pm. Alyssa will mainly be taking appointments, but walk-ins are also welcome. To get in touch with Alyssa and learn more about how VSLG can help, call 613-803-5291, or visit their website at www.vslg.ca.

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