Volunteers and service providers get training on social isolation of seniors

Government of Canada supports seniors

NORTH VANCOUVER, April 25, 2016 /CNW/ - Family Services of the North Shore is launching a new project in Vancouver to support volunteers and service providers who work with seniors over the age of 75. Jonathan Wilkinson, Member of Parliament for North Vancouver, made the announcement today while visiting the organization.

Through workshops and a regional conference, Family Services of the North Shore will help 1,500 volunteers and 500 service providers offer better support to the seniors. Training topics will include identifying and understanding social isolation issues among seniors, as well as how to connect seniors to local resources and services that meet their needs. The organization will also create a dedicated social media site to support knowledge sharing and volunteer engagement. Finally, Family Services of the North Shore will partner with Telus through their Healthy Living Networks Program. In the program, Telus places community messages on the screens in medical exam rooms with the aim of increasing awareness of seniors' isolation and promoting projects undertaken by Family Services of the North Shore.

This project is part of a larger collaborative approach, called the Metro Vancouver Intentional Connection Seniors Impact Plan, which aims to reduce the social isolation of seniors aged 75+ who have disabilities, have low resources and/or face language or cultural barriers. Other organizations involved in the plan include the Burnaby Community Services Society, Burnaby Neighbourhood House Society, and South Vancouver Neighbourhood House.

The Government of Canada partnered with Innoweave, an initiative of the J. W. McConnell Family Foundation, to support the implementation of this collaborative approach. More than $2.5 million in federal funding is being invested in these projects through the New Horizons for Seniors Program. Family Services of the North Shore is receiving over $750,000 in federal funding towards this project.

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 in summer 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

"The key to reducing social isolation among seniors is to create awareness of the issue and provide the proper training and education for volunteers and service providers. Our government is proud to support Family Services of the North Shore as they take on this challenge. By understanding how to reach those who are feeling lonely or isolated, and improving services for seniors, we could significantly improve the lives of Vancouver seniors."
Jonathan Wilkinson, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Member of Parliament for North Vancouver

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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 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's 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 aged 75+ facing the complex challenges and effects of loneliness and isolation.

 

ORGANIZATION NAME

PROJECT SUMMARY

FUNDING

AMOUNT

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 aged 75+  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 Connection Seniors impact plan. 

$750,000

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

Burnaby Community Services Society

The Seniors on the Move project will address the transportation needs of socially isolated, low-resource seniors aged 75+ 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 Connection Seniors impact plan.

$610,193

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

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 pan-Canadian NHSP 2015–2016 Call for Proposals include 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 emphasizing measurable results.

Successful projects are up to three years in duration and will receive funding between $150,000 and $750,000, for which more than $24.3 million (over $8.1 million per year over the next three years) will be made available.

For this call for proposals, the Government of Canada partnered with the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation's Innoweave initiative to support community partners on the ground, 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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