100 MILE HOUSE - Seniors in 100 Mile House and throughout the province will benefit as 27 communities receive grants of up to $20,000 to help create programs or tools that address the needs of their older residents.
"This year's grant recipients have recognized the importance of ensuring that communities and businesses meet the needs of residents of all ages," said Minister of State for Seniors Ralph Sultan. "Successful projects focus on a wide range of supports to make life easier for older residents. Many of these programs are supporting seniors to remain socially active and connected to their communities and are helping to reduce isolation, which is one of the top issues that I hear from seniors across B.C. when I meet with them."
The age-friendly planning and project grant program is a partnership between the government of B.C. and the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM). Grants of up to $20,000 are provided through UBCM to help establish, or continue, a variety of projects that support healthy, active seniors.
"As B.C.'s population continues to age, it is important that we look to ways to support the health of seniors and ensure that our communities are age-friendly and accessible," said Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett. "It is great news for seniors here in the Cariboo, and across B.C., that local governments are engaging in projects and programs that support our oldest residents."
Applications for age-friendly planning and projects grants were reviewed by staff from UBCM and the Ministry of Health. They were scored on a variety of factors, including: goals, proposed activities, involvement of seniors and other key partners, budget, and innovation and sustainability.
"As local governments come to grips with aging populations, there is a need to rethink the range of services we provide and how they are delivered. This program is helping communities around the province to improve policies and services for seniors," said Mary Sjostrom, president of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities.
Since 2007, 117 B.C. communities have received funding to support age-friendly planning and projects. Examples include age-friendly assessments, ensuring services are more accessible, supporting transportation and social connection to help prevent social isolation, and improving the community by increasing garden and green space.
In September 2012, government announced $500,000 was available for the 2013 round of grants. Fourteen of the 27 successful applicants for 2013 have not received previous funding through the program.
"We are very pleased that this funding will enable us to work in partnership with the South Cariboo Community Planning Council to conduct an age-friendly assessment and will help us build on our ongoing work in creating livable communities for seniors with disabilities," said Mitch Campsall, mayor of the District of 100 Mile House.
The age-friendly grant program is only one aspect of Age-friendly BC, which focuses on providing communities with support, information and recognition to help meet the needs of an aging population. Local governments can achieve age-friendly recognition and officially become an Age-friendly BC community once they have completed four basic steps that focus on community engagement, commitment, assessment and action.
To learn more about Age-friendly B.C. and the Age-friendly Planning and Project grant program, please visit:www.gov.bc.ca/agefriendly
The age-friendly grant program reflects the goals of B.C.'s Family Agenda, which supports seniors by encouraging healthy, active aging. To learn more, visit: www.familiesfirstbc.ca