Members of the Peers Victoria Resources Society gather in their new, large kitchen thanks to HeroWork and hundreds of volunteers who helped transform the society’s space. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)

Members of the Peers Victoria Resources Society gather in their new, large kitchen thanks to HeroWork and hundreds of volunteers who helped transform the society’s space. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)

VIDEO: Peers Victoria Resources Society unveils new building after radical renovation

HeroWork, hundreds of volunteers, helped transform the space

Peers Victoria Resources Society unveiled its new space on Saturday after HeroWork spent weeks renovating and transforming the place.

HeroWork, a charity that renovates other charities, enlisted the help of more than 400 trade and general volunteers plus more than 80 businesses to renovate the Peers building in Esquimalt. Peers is a grassroots agency that was established by and for sex workers in 1995. Through community partnerships and direct services, the organization provides outreach, drop-in, harm reduction and support services alongside education and employment training for current and former sex workers in Victoria and on Vancouver Island.

The building, which hasn’t gone through a major renovation like this since Peers moved in 15 years ago, looked brand new with a new floor plan, a brand new kitchen, three new bathrooms, a chill room, clothing boutique, program room, dining room, meeting room, counsellor’s space, health room, improved outdoor deck space and office space for 12 staff. HeroWork and volunteers also put in new electrical, plumbing and a new HVAC system.

READ ALSO: Victimization of sex workers by police ‘not irregular,’ Victoria advocacy group says

“They’ve completely transformed it…it’s overwhelming how many people gave generously to this project,” said Rachel Phillips, executive director of Peers Victoria. “When we asked for help from HeroWork what we were looking for was an improved kitchen and what we got was so much more.”

Organizations have to apply for renovations through HeroWork. Tracie Clayton, executive director of HeroWork said Peers was chosen because of the work the society does.

“They have a dramatic impact in the community,” Clayton said. “One of the criteria for HeroWork is the amount of community impact it makes…the amount of strain it takes off social services and the impact they make on people’s lives.”

Peers serves 500 to 600 people in the community per year. Some of the individuals are regulars while others may just drop in. Many people who were at the unveiling on Saturday that receive services from Peers were brought to tears when they saw the transformation of the space.

“It’s overwhelming how many people gave generously to this project,” Phillips said. “It’s so exciting, it’s amazing.”

READ ALSO: Sex workers advocate for a provincial bad date reporting system

Laurie Hillier, a health outreach worker with Peers, said she was blown away by the amount of work put into the place.

“Peers is such a deserving society…it’s just been incredible it feels like Christmas day,” Hillier said.

Hillier said she loves working at Peers because of the open, sex-positive environment as well as her colleagues and the people she interacts with daily.

“[Peers] is a place where we’re able to explore our identities and be who we would like to be.” Hillier said. “I think [the transformation] will bring a sense of value to the people who come here and I think they’re very deserving participants. To have someone reach out and make this kind of effort on their behalf…I think it really means a lot.”

shalu.mehta@goldstreamgazette.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Members of the HeroWork team gather in Peers Victoria Resources Society’s new, large kitchen which was built thanks to HeroWork and hundreds of volunteers who helped transform the society’s space. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)

Members of the HeroWork team gather in Peers Victoria Resources Society’s new, large kitchen which was built thanks to HeroWork and hundreds of volunteers who helped transform the society’s space. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)

HeroWork and hundreds of volunteers worked hard over the course of six weeks to transform Peers Victoria Resources Society’s space into a bright, open, inviting place to be. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)

HeroWork and hundreds of volunteers worked hard over the course of six weeks to transform Peers Victoria Resources Society’s space into a bright, open, inviting place to be. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)

HeroWork and hundreds of volunteers worked hard over the course of six weeks to transform Peers Victoria Resources Society’s space into a bright, open, inviting place to be. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)

HeroWork and hundreds of volunteers worked hard over the course of six weeks to transform Peers Victoria Resources Society’s space into a bright, open, inviting place to be. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)

HeroWork and hundreds of volunteers worked hard over the course of six weeks to transform Peers Victoria Resources Society’s space into a bright, open, inviting place to be. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)

HeroWork and hundreds of volunteers worked hard over the course of six weeks to transform Peers Victoria Resources Society’s space into a bright, open, inviting place to be. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)

Just Posted

B.C. is conducting an emergency alert test on Nov. 25 at 1:55 p.m. (Black Press Media File photo)
Expect B.C.-wide emergency alert system test Wednesday afternoon

The message will be broadcast at 1:55 p.m. on Nov. 25.

The Grinch was spotted on a tractor in Metchosin Monday morning, an early welcome for the holiday season. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
PHOTO: Grinch arrives early for the holidays in Metchosin

Send your favourite Christmas decorations to Black Press Media

file
Oak Bay resident bilked $3,300 in puppy scam

Three cases of fraud reported in two days

Sidney’s Star Cinema has temporarily closed as part of efforts to COVID-19. (Black Press Media File).
Sidney’s Star Cinema temporarily goes dark

Closure reflects provincial health order in effect until Dec. 7

Victoria police are asking for help locating Jordan Doddridge who is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
VicPD seek help locating man wanted on Canada-wide warrant

Jordan Doddridge has an extensive criminal history including violent offences

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. daily COVID-19 cases hits record 941 on Tuesday

Further restrictions on indoor exercise take effect

(Pixabay.com)
Man, 28, warned by Kootenay police to stop asking people to marry him

A woman initially reported the incident to police before they discovered others had been popped the question

Winston Blackmore (left) and James Oler (right) were sentenced on separate charges of polygamy this week in Cranbrook Supreme Court.
No more charges expected in Bountiful investigation, special prosecutor says

Special prosecutor says mandate has ended following review of evidence from Bountiful investigations

(Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Refuse to follow B.C.’s mask mandate? Face a $230 fine

Masks are now required to be worn by all British Columbians, 12 years and older

Parksville’s French Creek Harbour experienced a diesel spill on Nov. 23 after a barge and fishing vessel collided. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Coast Guard cleans up diesel spill in Parksville’s French Creek Harbour

Barge carrying fuel truck collides with fishing vessel

Stock photo
Senior from Gibsons caught viewing child porn sentenced to 10 months

74-year-old pleaded guilty after police seized 1,500-2,500 images

BC Teachers' Federation President Teri Mooring is asking parents of school-aged children to encourage the wearing of masks when possible in schools. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
LETTER: Teachers union encourages culture of mask wearing in B.C. schools

BCTF President Teri Mooring asks parents to talk with children about wearing masks in school

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

(Pixabay)
All dance studios, other indoor group fitness facilities must close amid updated COVID-19 rules

Prior announcement had said everything except spin, HIIT and hot yoga could remain open

Most Read