Government is providing $945,000 in funding to improve co-ordination of services and supports for victims and survivors of sexual violence. Proposals will be accepted from nine community support networks to help expand and promote supports and make services more accessible. The sexual violence strategy identified the importance of community involvement. Community support networks are made up of community members, local service providers and organizations. “Community Support Networks are the best source of knowledge about what supports exist and what is missing in different parts of the province,” said Minister of Community Services, Joanne Bernard. “These grants will help build on the important work already being carried out in the community.” Provincial Specialist Sarah Granke has been meeting with the community support networks in interactive workshops and is delighted at the conversations so far. “Participants are learning even more about each other’s work and how they can combine their strength and knowledge. You can feel the passion and dedication as soon as you walk in the room. It’s inspiring,” said Ms. Granke. Kimberly Burton, program co-ordinator with the Second Chance Society in the Strait Region, and a member of the Strait/Antigonish/Guysborough community support network, says the opportunity to meet with other service providers has been valuable. “It was a pleasure to form a team with other community service providers to discuss the unique needs in our area, and then have the opportunity to put together a plan to address them.”Grant amounts were determined by geography, youth demographics, and population of the regions. Each network will be able to use an extra $5,000 to improve access to services through travel assistance, interpretation/translation services, or other means. Two provincial committees on public awareness and educational resources have also begun work. For more information on the sexual violence strategy, visit novascotia.ca/coms/svs/ .