Seniors in Barriere 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. 0Barriere will receive $15,400 for a senior’s mental and physical fitness project.
“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 last week. “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.
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.
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