The Gilbert Centre is a community-based, not-for-profit, charitable organization that has been providing programs and services as the AIDS Committee of Simcoe County for over 25 years. In 2015, in part to recognize the reality of people with HIV not developing AIDS, but living health lives with HIV, the organization changed its name from the AIDS Committee to the Gilbert Centre for Social and Support Services. The Gilbert Centre, named after a founder Ed Gilbert, not only reflects the change in HIV, but also embraces the expansion of programming to serve lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender individuals and families in the Simcoe Muskoka area.
The Gilbert Centre takes a broad, social determinants approach to our work that is based in social justice, health equity and human rights. We see to engage individuals, families, organizations, institutions and communities as partners and collaborators in the work we undertake.
The Gilbert Centre provides social and support services to empower, promote health, and celebrate the lives of people living with and affected by HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STI) and the individuals and families from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) communities of Simcoe Muskoka.
Presented to the AIDS Committee of Simcoe County (previous name) at the Simcoe Pride Awards Gala 2015.
Presented to Gerry Croteau, Executive Director, at the Simcoe Pride Awards Gala 2016
Presented to the Gilbert Centre at the Georgian College Student Administration Appreciation Banquet 2017
Presented to Vaughn Forsyth, Gilbert Centre Volunteer, Delta Bingo and Gaming 2017
The Gilbert Centre provides social and support programming for individuals and families from the LGBT communities and those living with HIV in Simcoe County and Muskoka Region. Support includes case management, referrals to community services, peer based support and health promotion programming. The Gilbert Centre also offers educational programming in order to raise awareness of HIV and other sexually transmitted and blood born infections as well as to increase access to social services throughout the region to LGBT individuals and families.
The Gilbert Centre is a member of the Canadian AIDS Society, the Ontario AIDS Network, the Simcoe County Child Youth and Family Coalition, the Simcoe Muskoka LGBTQ Network and participates in numerous other partnerships locally, provincially, nationally and internationally.
According to media records and the personal account of Ed Gilbert, a founder and the first Executive Director of ACSC, the organization evolved out of a support group for people infected with and affected by HIV. This support group, called Jericho, was started in 1989 by Father Richard Newland, an Anglican priest at the time and Linda Bell. Linda’s son David was diagnosed with HIV in 1986 when he was 15 years old. After David’s death at 17 from a car accident, Linda felt very alone and needed to be able to talk with others about her grief and the experience, her son’s and her own, of being infected with and affected by HIV. At this time, little was known about the illness and stigmatizing attitudes and beliefs surrounding HIV left many people feeling isolated and alone while attempting to cope with a disease that was considered fatal at the time.