Dragon boaters and PHC to receive Island Health grants

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Wednesday, April 3 2019

The Gabriola Dragon Boat Society, as well as People for a Healthy Community, are the two Gabriola organizations receiving monies through Island Health’s Community Wellness Granting Program.

In all, 52 projects targeted towards improving healthy living and community well-being will be supported by Island Health.

The Gabriola Dragon Boat Society is a non-profit group offering anyone recreational experience. They will be meeting at Silva Bay on Mondays and Thursdays beginning in April at 5:30 p.m.

They will receive $900 to create an affordable option to participate in sporting activity on Gabriola, and provide opportunity for healthy, active living on the island without having to commute to Nanaimo. Members are able to meet new friends from the island, participants are able to demonstrate skill development, confidence and increased endurance paddling, with a decrease in social isolation among island residents while increasing fitness level and positive mental health.

People for a Healthy Community will be receiving $12,000 to pilot a program involving the Commons Community Kitchen for seniors, low income adults, parents, children and teens as part of their ongoing work to address food insecurity on Gabriola.

According to Island Health, $12,000 is the maximum value for a single individual grant.

Other Island Health grant recipients for 2019 include dozens of community-based projects including a collaboration in Sayward aimed at improving the physical and mental well-being for all members of the community, a young cooks program in Courtenay in partnership with Komoks First Nation, a lunch and learn program for seniors from Ucluelet and Tofino and local First Nations Elders, the establishment of a support group in Cowichan for individuals experiencing grief from traumatic loss, and a pilot project expanding parenting programs to Victoria and the West Shore.

Leah Hollins, Chair of Island Health’s Board of Directors, said, “We’re pleased to support the Community Wellness Granting program and congratulate this year’s recipients.

“Every year, these projects identify and address the unique health and care needs within their communities and showcase the impact of working together in partnership to address health and care needs across the region.”

 The program, now in its third year, helps foster local partnerships to address the population’s health and wellness. Nearly $750,000 from the Community Wellness Granting Program will fund a mix of individual programs and partnership grants.

Island Health says it recognizes the importance of reducing future reliance on the health care system and promoting healthy lifestyles at the grassroots level. 

Community Wellness grants provide the opportunity for Island Health to work with community partners, positively influence health outcomes and make healthy choices easier. 

In December 2018, Island Health issued a call for applications to local governments, community organizations and Aboriginal communities for the 2019 Community Wellness Granting Program. Grant application topic criteria included healthy aging, positive mental health, social and family connectedness, healthy eating and physical activity.