The Victoria Event Centre recieved $20,000 in funding to launch a pilot coffee shop and shared workspace in daytime hours. Nicole Crescenzi/VICTORIA NEWS

Victoria Event Centre to open café, begin workspace pilot project

$20,000 grant from Coastal Community Credit Union will help Centre expand its services

The Victoria Event Centre will be hosting a new daytime space soon, thanks to funds from the Coastal Community Credit Union.

The Victoria Multicultural Society, owners of the VEC, received a $20,000 Building Healthier Communities grant in a competitive application process that saw 21 other local businesses apply.

The VEC will be installing a work space and coffee shop as a pilot project for one year. The non-profit café will be a space where people can buy inexpensive coffees, teas and snacks and the free work space is open to all people, without obligation to make a café purchase.

“The VEC is already an important hub for grassroots organizers and activists, so testing the support for a free meeting place felt like a natural step,” Eric Nordal, a Centre employee and Retail Action Network organizer said in a statement. The Network and other groups will partner with the VEC to host meetings, workshops and other daytime programming as part of the café space, he added.

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While the competition was stiff, Coastal Community indicated that the VEC’s application made them an obvious choice.

“What we love to see in our grant applications is groups looking to be self-sustaining in the long term,” said Allyson Prescesky, senior manager of communications and community. “The VEC had a good idea, but needed a model to get it going.”

Representatives of the credit union and centre are expected to meet soon to plan out next steps. The new work space and café are set to open in the fall.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

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