Our Mission and Mandate
The Ally Centre of Cape Breton is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to prevent the spread of blood borne pathogens in the community and to create a supportive environment for those infected and/or affected by blood borne pathogens. In pursuit of this, the Ally Centre uses a community development approach in providing education, support and advocacy on blood borne pathogens and related issues for the people of Cape Breton Island.
How We Started
BACKGROUND AND HISTORY
- A small group of HIV positive gay men begin to gather in a Halifax kitchen seeking personal and emotional support
- Nova Scotia Persons With AIDS Coalition (NSPWAC) is formed with its focus on support and advocacy
- NSPWAC calls some concerned Cape Bretoners to meet
- A small group of dedicated individuals developed a proposal and submitted to Health Canada’s AIDS Community Action Fund
- A board was formed
- The AIDS Coalition of Cape Breton (ACCB) was incorporated.
- Project funding became available in February
- ACCB officially opened its doors April 1st as a resource and prevention/education program.
- Cape Breton’s first AIDS Walk
- A proposal for a needle exchange was submitted to the NS Department of Health and declined
- A small outbreak occurred in the needle using community.
- The proposal from the previous year was re-submitted
- Sharp Advice Needle Exchange opened its first site in North Sydney
- ACCB hosts the first Gay social in Sydney on New Year’s Eve resulting in the organization being recognized as the first safe space for the LGBTQ community in Cape Breton.
- ACCB moved from Townsend Street to its current location @ 150 Bentinck Street
- Cape Breton’s first Gay Pride Parade
- The Nova Scotia Strategy on HIV/AIDS was released
- ACCB headed up a working group to develop and submit a proposal for an opiate replacement program in Cape Breton
- Nova Scotia’s Standards for Blood Borne Pathogens Services was released
- Addictions Services was funded to deliver an opiate replacement program.
- The Government of Canada launched the Federal Initiative to Address HIV/AIDS
- ACCB was funded to provide anonymous counselling, testing and referral services.
- ACCB partners with Feed Nova Scotia to provide food bank services to its clients.
- ACCB coordinates the 1st International Day Against Homophobia in Cape Breton
- LGBTQ Resource and Support Program began
- The Trans support group was formed
- ACCB celebrated 20 years of service.
- Cape Breton launched its own Blood Borne Pathogen Strategy
- ACCB partners with Addictions Services and CBU on the IDU Knowledge Exchange and Capacity Building Projects
- Discussions begin around the delivery of specialized primary health services for marginalized individuals.
- Name changed to ALLY Centre of Cape Breton (ACCB) in an effort to encompass all the programs and services offered
- IDU project research reports are released
- Mental Health and Addictions established the Downtown Clinic ORT program in partnership with ACCB
- ACCB in partnership with Dr. Meaghan Keating opened the ALLY Health Clinic to offer primary health services to marginalized individuals.
In 2020 the people served by the Ally Centre will have improved access to the full range of services required to maintain health, inclusive of a health clinic providing a full range of primary health services and mobile outreach health.
Due to the Ally Center’s success in health promotion, harm reduction strategies will be recognized as appropriate health responses in our community.
The Ally Center will continue to participate in high quality community based research and will play a leadership role in the development of a harm reduction network. With the assistance of our partners we will have developed four harm reduction sites outside of Sydney.
The Ally Center will sustain and further develop an effective peer support network that includes the participation of drug users.
Due to the hard work of board, staff and volunteers, in 2020 the Ally Centre will be supported by full and sustainable funding.
- To increase access to harm reduction and health promotion programs and services for vulnerable populations in Cape Breton.
- To expand knowledge and increase understanding of the complex issues among vulnerable populations and the local realities that can facilitate or impede public health through research, education and advocacy.
- To increase collaboration between agencies, government sectors, and stakeholders in addressing issues related to vulnerable populations.
- To strengthen the organization to ensure we are able to meet the evolving needs of the communities we serve.
The Ally Center creates supportive environments to reduce harm and promote health.
The Ally Center works to accomplish our mission by using a health promotion approach which includes:
Creating healthy public policy, creating supportive environments, strengthening community action, developing personal skills, and re-orienting health services
The People We Serve:
The population the Ally Center serves are often referred to as marginalized, excluded or vulnerable. They are typically those people who have faced prolonged difficulties with all or some of the following: poverty, homelessness, mental illness, substance use disorder, social isolation, unemployment, conflicts with the law.
Harm Reduction refers to policies, programs and practices that aim to reduce the negative health, social and economic consequences that may ensue from the use of legal and illegal psychoactive drugs, without necessarily reducing drug use. It's cornerstones are public health, human rights and social justice. It benefits people who use drugs, families and communities.
Community Development is about the active involvement of people in the issues which affect their lives. it is a process based on the sharing of power, skills, knowledge and experience