Pregnant people in Cambridge now have more resource and support options, thanks to the SHORE Centre’s recent expansion into downtown Galt.

The centre, formerly known as Planned Parenthood Waterloo Region, has started offering services on Friday afternoons from 1 to 4 p.m., in space provided by the Cambridge Self Help Food Bank. Funding from the Cambridge and North Dumfries Community Foundation will allow a year-long pilot.

The centre served almost a thousand clients at its Kitchener office in the last year.  Almost ten per cent of those were from Cambridge. Realizing that getting to downtown Kitchener is an obstacle for many, the centre staff have been planning for the Cambridge expansion for about a year, says Lyndsey Butcher, SHORE’s executive director. They consulted with local agencies, and soon connected with the food bank, which has been “enthusiastically welcoming.”

The organization’s new name stands for sexual health options, resources and education, so its free services reflect that mandate, says client support coordinator Kayla Orr. These include prenatal advice, abortion counselling and referrals, and providing pregnancy tests, lubricants and condoms.

Education is also part of the expansion to Cambridge and North Dumfries. The funding from the community foundation will help to make workshops more widely available at this end of Waterloo Region.

“Health Matters program is our sexual health education workshop that we provide in local schools, community centres, youth shelters and with different community groups,” says Orr. “We cover all ages and a pretty comprehensive range of topics. We cover everything from healthy relationships to puberty, anatomy, safer sex and condoms, STIs, pregnancy, pregnancy options, consent, gender and sexuality. We try to tailor each workshop to the request of the organization and the needs of the community they’re working with.”

Dianne McLeod, program coordinator at the Cambridge Self Help Food Bank, says SHORE’s services are needed in Cambridge.  “We would often have pregnancy tests that we would give to women who wanted to know if they’re pregnant. But we didn’t have the resources to give them the additional support that goes along with that. We would have to refer them elsewhere,” she says. But for many people, making a trip to downtown Kitchener was a huge obstacle.

“We are really pleased that the SHORE Centre is now here,” says McLeod.