Taking action to reduce social isolation among seniors in Vancouver - Government of Canada supports seniors

VANCOUVER, BC, April 21, 2016 /CNW/ - A new collaborative initiative is being implemented in Vancouver to help prevent and reduce social isolation among seniors. The Honourable Harjit Singh Sajjan, Minister of National Defence and Member of Parliament for Vancouver South, made the announcement today.

Four organizations, the Burnaby Community Services Society, the South Burnaby Neighbourhood House Society, the South Vancouver Neighbourhood House and Family Services of the North Shore, are combining efforts to reduce the social isolation of seniors aged 75+ in the Metro Vancouver area, with a focus on seniors living with disabilities, seniors who have low resources and/or seniors who face language or cultural barriers. Through initiatives led by each of the organizations, local seniors will have a range of supports, including increased access to transportation, Welcoming Spaces sites for social activities and connection to services in their native language, and community Senior Hubs Training events for volunteers and service providers who work with seniors that will help them better identify, understand and connect socially isolated seniors with resources. 

The plan aims to increase the number of socially isolated seniors who receive support and help when needed, who participate regularly in activities, and who feel connected to their communities. To achieve success, each organization will also bring together a mix of community partners to help execute activities, measure results, leverage resources and implement improvements throughout the duration of the projects.

The Government of Canada partnered with Innoweave (an initiative of the J. W. McConnell Family Foundation) to join forces with these organizations to reduce social isolation among seniors by investing $2.5 million in these projects through its New Horizons for Seniors Program.

Quick Facts

  • Employment and Social Development Canada received over 200 project proposals through the 2015–2016 NHSP Call for Proposals for Pan-Canadian Projects, which was open from May 29 to July 10, 2015.
  • Since 2004, the NHSP has funded close to 17,800 projects in hundreds of communities across Canada, with a total Government of Canada investment of more than $360 million.

Quotes

"With the rising senior population in Canada, our government understands the importance of creating awareness and supporting seniors who are or who may be at risk of becoming socially isolated. By joining forces with organizations and partners, we can put systems and services in place to reduce and prevent seniors' social isolation. I believe that these new projects will have a positive impact in the lives of those who need it most."    
– The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

"As the Member of Parliament for Vancouver South, I know that our province has a diverse ethnic population. Seniors living here require support and resources that are tailored to meet their individual needs. Through the New Horizons for Seniors Program, I am proud to know that these projects are being developed with local seniors in mind. Socially isolated seniors will now have additional services at their fingertips that will bring hope during difficult times."
– The Honourable Harjit Singh Sajjan, Minister of National Defence and Member of Parliament for Vancouver South

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Backgrounder

For the 2015–2016 New Horizons for Seniors Program Call for Proposals for Pan-Canadian Projects, the Government of Canada invited organizations seeking project funding to each submit an impact plan describing the respective roles they and their project partners would play in collectively addressing the important issue of social isolation among seniors by using collaborative approaches that place an emphasis on measurable results.

For this call for proposals, the Government partnered with the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation and its Innoweave initiative to support the development, implementation and scaling of these collaborative approaches to reduce social isolation among seniors.

The following four organizations identified in the Metro Vancouver Intentional Connection Seniors Impact Plan are receiving project funding as a result of the NHSP call for proposals. These organizations have a vested interest in addressing the needs of seniors and in supporting isolated seniors who are caregivers facing the complex challenges and effects of loneliness and isolation.

 

ORGANIZATION NAME

PROJECT SUMMARY

FUNDING

AMOUNT

Burnaby Community Services Society

The Seniors on the Move project will address the transportation needs
of socially isolated, low-resource seniors 75+ years of age with
disabilities in Metro Vancouver. The project will help connect seniors to

appropriate, age-related transportation options; build upon
transportation services that are working well; and test new modes of
sustainable transportation services.

This organization will also lead the evaluation of the Metro Vancouver
Intentional Connections
impact plan.

$610,193

South Burnaby Neighbourhood House Society

The Welcoming Seniors' Spaces project will implement the
Welcoming Place/Seniors Outreach Model in eight linguistically
diverse neighbourhood communities in Metro Vancouver. The
welcoming sites will encourage isolated seniors to participate in social
activities and to connect them to appropriate services with the support
of volunteers who can communicate with them in their first language.

$500,196

South Vancouver Neighbourhood House

The Scaling Up and Scaling Out the Seniors Hub Model project
builds upon the success of the South Vancouver Seniors Hub project by
creating two new hubs in partnering communities where seniors can
gather and receive information and services. All three hub sites will
recruit and train volunteers to reach out and engage isolated seniors
and connect them to supports.

$673,043

Family Services of the North Shore

The Volunteers as Navigators and Connectors project will develop a
curriculum and organize training events and a major conference to
support volunteers and service providers who work with seniors
75 years and older to better identify, understand and connect seniors
with the resources they need. This organization will also provide overall
strategic alignment and support to collaborating organizations to
achieve outcomes of the Metro Vancouver Intentional Connections
impact plan.

$750,000

TOTAL

$2,533,432

 

New Horizons for Seniors Program

The New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) is a federal grants and contributions program that supports projects led or inspired by seniors who make a difference in the lives of others and their communities. Through the NHSP, the Government of Canada encourages seniors to share their knowledge, skills and experiences to the benefit of others.

The objectives of the NHSP are:

  • promoting volunteerism among seniors;
  • engaging seniors in the community through mentoring of others;
  • expanding awareness of elder abuse, including financial abuse;
  • supporting social participation and inclusion of seniors; and
  • providing capital assistance for new and existing community projects and/or programs for seniors.

NHSP funding supports pan-Canadian projects and community-based projects.

Pan-Canadian projects

Pan-Canadian projects test and share best practices across the country and replicate interventions that have worked well in addressing seniors' issues.

Projects funded through the NHSP 2015–2016 Call for Proposals for Pan-Canadian included an impact plan describing the roles played by respective project partners in addressing the important issue of social isolation among seniors by using collaborative approaches that place an emphasis on measurable results.

Successful projects are up to three years in duration and will receive funding between $150,000 and $750,000.

More than $24.3 million (more than $8.1 million per year over the next three years) will be made available for pan‑Canadian projects funded through the 2015–2016 NHSP Call for Proposals.

For this call for proposals, the Government of Canada partnered with the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation and its Innoweave initiative to support community partners in their collaborative approaches to measurably reduce the rate of social isolation among seniors. Innoweave will provide implementation and evaluation support to funded projects.

Established in 1937, the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation has a mandate to enhance Canada's ability to address complex social, environmental and economic challenges. It does this by developing, testing and applying innovative approaches and solutions; by strengthening the community sector; and by collaborating with partners from various sectors—community, private and public.

Community-based projects

Community-based project funding supports activities that engage seniors and address one or more of the program's five objectives: volunteering, mentoring, expanding awareness of elder abuse, social participation and capital assistance. These projects are eligible to receive up to $25,000 per year per organization in grant funding.

The NHSP 2015–2016 Call for Proposals for Community-Based Projects closed on July 10, 2015. It invited organizations to apply for funding of up to $25,000 for projects that help empower seniors to share their knowledge, skills and experiences with others and support communities by increasing their capacity to address local issues.

Close to 1,850 projects across Canada were approved through the NHSP 2015–2016 Call for Proposals for Community-Based Projects and are now in progress.

It is anticipated that the NHSP 2016–2017 Call for Proposals for Community-Based Projects will be launched in spring 2016. For more information on the NHSP, visit Canada.ca/Seniors.

 

SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada

For further information: Media Relations Office, Employment and Social Development Canada, 819-994-5559, media@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca


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