The newly established North Cariboo Seniors’ Council (NCSC) has received $10,000 in funding from the United Way Northern BC Community Emergency Support Fund.
The NCSC will use the funds to provide prepared and deliver meals to vulnerable seniors whose excursions have been severely limited by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The funds will cover the costs of meal preparation as well as provide stipends to volunteer delivery drivers in order to cover their gas costs.
This is the second grant the NCSC has received from United Way for meal delivery. The first grant for $6,000 came through the COVID-19 Relief Fund with meal delivery commencing in mid-June and set to continue until to mid- August. Council President Brenda Gardiner, well known in Quesnel for her work with Better at Home, says that these meals are making a big difference in the lives of vulnerable seniors in our community.
“Seniors receiving meals are calling us to say thank you and some of them are very emotional, they are feeling very isolated and overwhelmed and these meal deliveries really mean a lot,” said Gardiner. “They know our community cares.”
This latest grant will take the meal service from August to December and the NCSC has submitted a third application requesting funds under the United Way Community Impact and Investment Funding stream which if granted, would allow the meal preparation and delivery service to be extended through April of 2021.
The NCSC has also received grant funding from Community Futures Quesnel for marketing and messaging,as well as funding from the Quesnel Community Foundation for office equipment and support in the form of a lease subsidy from the City of Quesnel for a shared downtown office location in Spirit Center. Additionally, the NCSC has submitted a grant application to access COVID-19 Federal Emergency Community Support Funding administered by the Community Foundations of Canada.
The NCSC is a completely autonomous non-profit society, established in November 2019 through a New Horizons grant secured by the City of Quesnel. This is a regional initiative with representation from CRD, City of Quesnel, Better at Home, Old Age Pensioners Organization, Quesnel Seniors Center, Northern Health, and other community members.
The NCSC provides support to direct seniors to services already available in the community, identify service gaps and work with the community to fill them. Guidance for the initial work was provided by the ‘2018 Age Friendly Assessment and Action Plan’ commissioned by the City of Quesnel which includes several areas of focus, such as transportation, social participation and recreation, community support and health services. The mission of the NCSC is to “protect and enhance the safety, quality of life, livability, and sustainability of our senior citizen community.”
The NCSC is made up of volunteers, collaborating with the entire community, to identify issues and help provide support to seniors. So far, in less than a year, grants secured total over $21,000 with an additional $26,000 of applications in progress. NCSC director Sally Service stated: “We are grateful to the United Way of Northern BC, Community Futures Quesnel, Quesnel Community Foundation, and the City of Quesnel, for recognizing the need and providing critical financial support to improve the lives of our senior citizens.”
While the NCSC has been busy securing grant funding, they have also established a downtown office, created a logo and mission statement as well as launched their website. In addition, under a separate grant secured by the City of Quesnel and with outreach support from the Cariboo Regional District, City of Quesnel and Northern Health, a senior housing inventory and needs assessment is underway. The NCSC will be launching two housing surveys on their website in September which will allow residents to have their say regarding the future of senior housing in the region.
Individuals interested in becoming a NCSC member, are asked to visit their website at www.caribooseniorscouncil.org. The NCSC will be celebrating their official launch and opening their new office at the Spirit Centre this September and holding their first annual general meeting in November.