The city of Quesnel will be giving the North Cariboo Seniors’ Council (NCSC) “a big chunk of change” and the group couldn’t be happier.
Director Sally Service said the group plans to use the $100,000 the city is giving the NCSC to hire its first employee and build up their coffers over a three-year period.
“They’ve put a lot of trust and faith in us,” Service said. “Right now everything is being done by volunteers, and there’s a small core of us who have been in it since the beginning, and volunteer burnout is a reality. If it becomes an issue it could seriously impact the capabilities of the (NCSC).”
The money is coming from the provincial COVID-19 safe restart grant, which was given to the city to replace casino revenue during a pandemic shortfall.
“We are beyond amazed and so thankful to the city,” Service said, adding councillor Mitch Vik strongly advocated for council to support the seniors’ group.
The employee will work part-time in the NCSC office in Downtown Quesnel. While the exact job description isn’t known, Service said their new employee’s main job would be to find and apply for grants the council might be able to use.
Money from various grants funds three main projects for the NCSC right now, including a no cost meal delivery program, yard/garden work which has moved to snow shovelling and a taxi program to help cover medical transportation costs.
Service added the added funds should help the council remain ready if an unforeseen new need rises up.
“It’s a big chunk of change and it’s heartening and humbling to know the city has that much confidence in this group which has been going for 14 months,” Service said.
The NCSC had their first meeting in January 2020. Just two months later, the COVID-19 pandemic was hitting seniors especially hard.
“In spite of COVID-19, we’ve accomplished a lot,” Service said. “All that money we’ve received so far has been federal government COVID-19 money… and that money will eventually dry up.”
The NCSC has also completed a housing survey and analysis, available on their website, www.cariboooseniorscouncil.org. Nearly 70 per cent of respondents to the survey said their home isn’t or won’t be suitable in the next 10 years.
Service said she expects to sign a memorandum of understanding with the city to receive the grant by Monday, Feb. 8.
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