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

 

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

Gwen Spencer Hethey with her uncle and mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)
‘She was a killer’: The Victoria woman who pioneered female sharpshooting

Gwen Spencer Hethey made military men ‘look like turkeys’ says her son

Anita Troop officially turns 100 on Sunday and cards are pouring in from around the world. (Courtesy Marina Miller)
Cards roll in from around the world for West Shore 100 year old

About 100 cards have come for the woman who turns 100 on Sunday

A cardboard man bearing Queen Elizabeth II’s royal cipher has been placed in a window at the Royal Theatre for at least several days. (Evert Lindquist/News Staff)
Mysterious cardboard figure appears in Victoria’s Royal Theatre window

The identity of the figure, which was moved there amid cleaning, remains unknown

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Central Okanagan Grade 12 grads are set to get $500 each after a more than $1 million donation from a Kelowna couple. (File photo)
B.C. couple donating $500 to every Grade 12 student in the Okanagan

Anonymous donors identified as Kelowna entrepreneurs Lance and Tammy Torgerson

Rita Coolidge played the main stage at Vancouver Island Musicfest in 2017. (Black Press file photo)
This year’s Vancouver Island MusicFest to virtually showcase beauty of Comox Valley

Returning July 9 through 11 with more than 25 hours of music performances

British Columbia’s premier says he’s received a second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. (Twitter/John Horgan)
B.C. premier gets 2nd dose of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

John Horgan shared a photo of himself on social media Friday afternoon holding a completed vaccination card

A lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS
No winning ticket sold for Friday’s $70 million Lotto Max jackpot

The huge jackpot has remained unclaimed for several weeks now

OPINION SIG
SOOKE HISTORY: A brief history of Bear Creek Camp

Malahat Logging Company began both Beach Camp and Bear Creek Camp

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Most Read