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City of Powell River recreation manager seeks funding for seniors programs

Money would provide for programming to address isolation challenges
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NEW OPPORTUNITY: City of Powell River manager of recreation services Neil Pukesh outlined a grant application that would connect seniors through a monthly meeting, which used to be operated out of Powell River Recreation Complex [above], and is now being proposed for Cranberry Seniors Centre.

City of Powell River Council will consider applying for a $15,000 grant to support programming for seniors.

At the July 5 committee of the whole meeting, manager of recreation Neil Pukesh outlined the prospective grant application, seeking approval for grant funding from Union of British Columbia Municipalities’ 2022 age-friendly communities program.

“We’ve been very successful as a community obtaining funds from this organization,” said Pukesh. “We’ve received $50,000 since 2016 that helps develop and support important seniors programs in our community, such as the age-friendly plan that council adopted, I believe, in 2016; the establishment of the seniors community council; the seniors together program, and the last one we had was the seniors resource guide in 2019.

“We did receive funding in 2020 for a health connector program, but that was cancelled due to COVID-19, so we had to send that money back.”

Pukesh said there is a new opportunity in front of the city. He had been involved in a networking meeting about how to support seniors in the community, now that a transition is being made out of the pandemic.

“We’re still in it but we’re looking at the future,” said Pukesh. “It’s amazing to see so many great resources in our community come together through our social planner. It showed me there is a need for this and we’ve got to get back to normalcy.

“I’ve had seniors come by my office on a daily basis to tell me the recreation centre is the hub of activity for them, and that’s where they like to connect with people.”

Pukesh said funds being proposed in this grant application would be used to relaunch the seniors together program, which was designed to address isolation challenges affecting many seniors. He said this time, it would be in collaboration with Cranberry Seniors Centre. The seniors approached the city and suggested the collaboration, because they have the facility, the resources, the volunteers and the kitchen to make this work, according to Pukesh.

“We were really struggling to find a caterer in town to help us with our event on a monthly basis,” said Pukesh. “They’ve [the seniors centre] stepped up, they want to help, so our health and fitness coordinator has put this together and this will be an amazing success if we can get it off the ground in September.

“My ask is for council to support this application. We’ll need a council resolution.”

The committee gave unanimous consent to send the grant application to council for approval.


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