Island Sexual Health Clinic executive director Bobbi Turner

Need advice on sexual health? Look to Saanich

Popular Fort Street sexual health clinic relocating to High Quadra

The day an anonymous donor gave $5,000 towards the Vancouver Island Sexual Health Society’s relocation campaign, the atmosphere in the clinic turned downright joyous.

“It was like someone had given us all a shot of adrenaline,” said Jennifer Gibson, co-ordinator of community education services. “It’s so validating to have someone from the outside recognize what you’re doing and give you opportunities to keep doing that. It’s pretty amazing.”

The donation – the largest the society has received since it was founded in 1969 – covers one-third of the fundraising goal set to purchase the new medical equipment, including three additional exam tables, needed once the clinic relocates to Saanich in December.

The society, currently operating on Fort Street in Victoria, saw about 20,000 client visits last year – a demanding volume for a clinic with three exam rooms.

The new clinic will offer a broader range of educational and medical services – if they can get the cash together – in twice the space at 3960 Quadra St.

To raise $15,000, the society has launched an online campaign at kapipal.com/islandsexualhealth.

The total budget for the relocation is set at $50,000.

“We’ve known for the last couple of years that we’ve really outgrown the space and it got to the point that it was critical we relocate,” said Bobbi Turner, executive director of the society.

Reception is overflowing with clinic files, many of which are now stored in boxes throughout the office. Staff – 15 doctors alongside about 25 active volunteers – have been forced to alternate between work stations.

The new location will allow for more client visits in more comfortable spaces, as well as on site training and more educational workshops.

“We started out as a one-doctor organization and have grown substantially from that, from just a birth control clinic that was very female-centred and about family planning to what we currently see: people of all ages and genders and orientations and identities and abilities for sexual health,” Gibson said.

“The space we’ve been in just doesn’t meet the needs of our clients anymore – to the point that they’re actually having to stand while they’re waiting for the doctor because we’ve run out of seats. That’s not comfortable care.”

The new Island Sexual Health Centre location was also selected for its closer proximity to the West Shore and Saanich Peninsula regions, from where many clients travel after two lesser-accessed satellite offices were closed earlier this fall. It will continue to offer a full range of education and medical sexual health services.

The United Way of Greater Victoria, the Vancouver Island Health Authority and provincial gaming grants provide partial funding for the society, with the remainder of its operating funds coming from medical services plan billing and profits from contraception sales, which are declining as the popularity of less profitable contraceptive methods increases.

“With all of the education components to the organization and ensuring that the clients don’t ever walk away without their contraceptives, regardless of their ability to pay – those are things that we really believe in and that takes its toll,” Turner said. “In order to provide all those free services, that really hits the pocketbook.”

For more, see islandsexualhealth.org.

nnorth@saanichnews.com

 

 

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

Just Posted

Grieving together, but apart: How funeral homes are handling the pandemic

‘Hugs are so important and right now hugs can’t happen’

Sidney Lions, Peninsula-raised designer craft nearly 200 masks for area seniors

182 masks were distributed to four Saanich Peninsula care homes

What Sooke School District schools will look like on first day of reopening

No water fountains, rotating schedules and face masks not required

Saanich residents sound alarm after second owl dies of rat poison

Great Horned Owl found in Kings Park killed by three rodenticides

Point-guard lobs no-look, three-pointer for Oak Bay High video

Trick-shot only took three times, says Oak Bay teen

VIDEO: Victoria dental staff dance to *NSYNC to promote reopening

Urban Smiles staff ‘want you back’ after closure in response to pandemic

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

B.C. aquaculture farm’s employees sweat it out to raise funds for food banks

For every five minutes of exercise recorded, Cermaq Canada is donating a dollar to local food banks in communities they operate

Condition in kids with possible COVID-19 link being studied in Canada

This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors about MIS-C

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

POLL: Do you agree with the provincial government’s decision to increase the minimum wage?

B.C.’s lowest-paid workers will be getting a few more dollars to try… Continue reading

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

Large cruise ships barred from Canadian waters until end of October: Garneau

Last year 140 cruise ships brought more than two million visitors to Canadian ports

Minneapolis cop who knelt on man’s neck charged with murder

Arrest comes after three days of protests, which escalated in violence as demonstrators torched a police precinct

Most Read