The District of Kent is one of 27 communities receiving money for Age Friendly initiatives for seniors. On Tuesday

The District of Kent is one of 27 communities receiving money for Age Friendly initiatives for seniors. On Tuesday

Kent granted Age Friendly funds

Money will help seniors connect to services, says Agassiz mayor

Local seniors got a boost on Tuesday, following a funding announcement at Cheam Village in Agassiz.

Ralph Sultan, Minister of State for Seniors, handed over a $15,000 ‘age-friendly’ grant, intended to help create programs or tools that address the needs of the district’s older residents. The District of Kent is one of 27 communities receiving grants for 2013.

“One of the topics that I’ve heard in my discussion with seniors time and time again as I’ve toured the province is the importance of addressing the issue of isolation,” Sultan said. “I am pleased to see communities like Kent rising to the challenge and creating programs and supports that support seniors in remaining socially active and connected to their

communities.”

On hand to accept the grant was local senior Henry Fabritz, and Agassiz Mayor John Van Laerhoven. MLAs John Les and Gwen O’Mahony were also at the event.

The District of Kent recently created a few different forums to gain feedback from seniors on their feelings on local services and amenities. They held a community cafe and conducted a survey.

While seniors overall find the area a good place to live, the district found that many seniors were unaware of local services, or isolated from benefitting from them.

They will use the funds to work to reach isolated seniors and raise awareness of the risk factors of isolation. The district will also promote local senior services through a variety of means, including information boards, consolidated telephone number lists, a resource book and a communication directory.

“This region is home to many seniors and it is great news that this funding will support the health and well-being some of our most vulnerable older residents,” said  Les.

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.

“It is estimated that approximately 10 per cent of the seniors’ population here in Kent is isolated or at risk of becoming isolated and we are pleased that this age-friendly grant will help us to address this important issue,” said Van Laerhoven.

“Through training for staff, volunteers and other agencies, we hope to raise awareness of the risk factors of isolation and ensure that local seniors have supports in place to be engaged and active members of the community.”

news@ahoberver.com

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