Hilary Mitchell (event organiser/governing collective), Lorellin Syben (governing collective), and Karen Foreman-Brown (event organising committee/volunteer) at the 20th Birthday celebrations of the Nelson Women’s Centre on Saturday night. Photo: Brittany Spencer.

Women’s Centre turns 20


Nelson Women’s Centre celebrated 20 years of service to the community at the weekend.

Centre coordinator Britta Hietz says over 100 people attended the event on Saturday at Founders Park, which was originally planned for November but was postponed because of the Kaikoura earthquake.

“It was wonderful – there were many generous woman and men, including all the people who have supported it over the years, plus lots of new people too,” she says.

In November 1996, the Women’s Centre opened after an 18 month $160,000 fundraising campaign to take ownership of their premises at 44 Trafalgar St.

It has grown to become not only a place for women in crisis, but somewhere where women can come to meet other people.

“You don’t need to have a problem to come in,” says Britta.

“It’s a place where women can come and make connections, bring their children, have a cup of tea and just socialise. I’m in awe of the women here and what they do.”

The non-profit organisation offers services such as social worker support, low-cost counselling, advocacy, information on women’s rights, a library and opshop, and a programme of workshops.

Britta says they exist through a combination of government funding, donations, and the hard work of a large team of volunteers, but they always appreciate extra support by donation, volunteering, or even running a workshop.

The Nelson Women’s Centre is open Monday to Thursday, 9am – 4pm, and Friday 9am – 2pm, and welcomes people to drop in during these hours.