Hello friends & supporters,

We have sudden and unfortunate news to share. There are never easy ways to convey difficult messages and so what's best is to be clear and direct about what's up.

 

Despite our best efforts while being met with a multitude of challenges, we’ve been forced to make the difficult decision to wind down operations, discontinue services and close The SPACE Youth Centre. This was not a sudden or knee jerk reaction, we took time and genuinely considered all the options available to us and had many conversations with others.

 

Over the last 2 years we have been met with hurdle after hurdle while doing our best to set our ongoing sustainability and community up for success. As should be no surprise, the nonprofit sector is not an easy place to exist in and has many barriers that pose significant challenges to grassroots endeavours and pits organizations to compete for minimal resources. The ongoing pandemic has only worsened these issues. These are complex facets on their own, however on-top of struggling to cover our finances we were also served an non-renewal of our lease (eviction) from our landlords at New Vision United Church, and given the health of our community and staff at this time we have come to the difficult decision to close our doors. 

 

People will be feeling a lot given this news and will continue to process over the next few months. So much has been lost not only during the pandemic but during the ongoing gentrification of our city and the spaces we love and exist in. We ask that you give yourself space and are kind to yourself and us as we figure out the finer details of what comes next. You probably also have many questions, and many answers to those questions may not be available right now.

 

This news has been heartbreaking, frustrating and exceptionally challenging to process and figure out. However, we also want to acknowledge the outstanding work of our community in the 10+ years of our existence. We don't do much in the way of advertising our work but we have killed it. We have engaged with and impacted the lives of countless youth within our city and our community has been home to so many and that is something we cherish dearly. Over our lifetime, we did the best we could with the knowledge, resources and capacity we had at every stage. Were we perfect? Absolutely not. We made multiple mistakes and did the difficult work to course-correct and move forward with as much integrity, care, consideration and love that we could muster. Once we knew better, we moved to do better.

 

In being clear, this is awful. This is and should be considered a significant loss for the City of Hamilton.  Whether the truth of this wants to be acknowledged or not, we have heard countless times from our youth that there are very few genuinely safe, considerate and loving spaces to exist in Hamilton as BIPOC youth. In this way we pose a challenge to all who believe in our values, to leaders who hold power, to people who believe themselves big or small:

 

Do something about it. 

 

In our absence something else must take its place, something stronger, something more sustainable and authentic. This is not a beacon or call to action for more of the same or further generic programming. This is a call out, a wish, shouted into the ether. Youth deserve more than this city and the places in it are offering. Do something about it. Whether alone, a group, or a collective. Have it be messy, do the best you can with what you got and move with the guiding thoughts -  Is this what's best for youth in our city? And are they genuinely a part of this conversation and decision making process? If it's no, to either or both, take a step back and reconsider. 

 

As we wrap up we leave with our heads held high, confident in the beauty we have been able to create together and in the values that will continue to flourish and grow within the youth we’ve been able to touch in our lifetime as an organization. In the meantime we will continue to consider what honouring our legacy may look like and share updates on that in the future. 

 

With love.

 

The SPACE Youth Centre

 The SPACE for youth in Hamilton. 

By youth,

for youth.

Community

is family.

Once you know better, do better.

Justice means taking action. 

By youth,

for youth.

Community

is family.

Once you know better, do better.

Justice means taking action. 

WHAT PEOPLE SAY

"The SPACE was one of the first places that I came to when I wanted to start finding places to hang out, and I certainly wasn't expecting to be here as much as I have been. Being able to connect and get to know lots of different people has been refreshing. If anything, people should come check out the unique programs here and expect to build great relationships & grow as people together. The SPACE is the kind of place where I didn't come expecting to learn but I did and have had lots of fun while doing it."

 

—  Mursal

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