Anne Todd talks to a crowd at the Hope Golf Club on Sept. 22 about food security in Hope. Fraser Health has chosen Todd to be this area's Healthy Living Coordinator.

Fraser Health disburses eight grants

To date, Fraser Health has disbursed $457,325 for Hope and the Fraser Canyon.

Fraser Health has chosen Hope resident Anne Todd to pursue a healthy living strategy.

Todd will tackle challenges such as smoking reduction, food security, physical activity and chronic disease prevention in Hope and the Fraser Canyon, working as the Healthy Living Coordinator.

“The intent is to work with community organizations, with the municipality to implement local population health approaches that really address these risk factors,” said Fraser Health’s local health service area director Petra Pardy.

Pardy envisions that Todd would also work with other Fraser Health funded coordinators to achieve these goals to ensure no duplication of effort, and to align their strategies.

The entire budget of Todd’s program is $100,000, which includes her salary, benefits, travel and other expenses.

Todd is also the co-chair of the Hope and Area Food Security Coalition, which tries to improve food security in this area.

But Pardy noted that her role in the coalition did not influence Fraser Health’s decision.

“Working in a rural community, people absolutely need to be invested and willing to be part of this community,” said Pardy. “Anne has these knowledge and participation in the food coalition as well as in tobacco reduction for the region of Fraser Health, so this will be to her advantage.”

But Pardy also revealed that they did not get many applicants for the role.

“Recruiting into further east you go into Fraser Health, it’s been challenging to get qualified and interested individuals for these various positions,” said Pardy.

“This is not unique to just the Healthy Living Coordinator, it’s also physiotherapy, even nursing, we’re struggling with recruiting into these areas.”

Pardy did not want to reveal how many applications Fraser Health got.

Fraser Health will review the awardees’ performance on a quarterly basis, using an evaluation framework that judges based on deliverables and outcome measurements.

For example, the Healthy Living Coordinator’s outcome measurements include smoke rates compared to Fraser Health average, rate of fruit/vegetable consumption and rate of physical activity.

These key areas were chosen as part of stakeholder engagement sessions.

Particularly, smoking and food security appeared as a repeated issue whether in Silver Creek or Boston Bar, said Pardy.

Additionally, an email from Fraser Health, sent Nov. 2, revealed their chosen applicants for seven grants.

In total, $457,325 out of $500,000 has been disbursed to help Hope and the Fraser Canyon in various areas.

The following recipients received the other seven grants, totalling $325,000:

Hope and Area Transition Society (HATS) has received two grants, $75,000 for a youth coordinator and $50,000 to expand mental health and substance use services.

The former role would put HATS in charge of running a mobile youth health outreach program that involves after-school programs, suicide prevention, health education and inter-generational programs.

“We will hire a full-time employee to coordinator youth services/programs in Hope, the Fraser Canyon and the First Nation communities,” said HATS executive director Gerry Dyble. “Working with a steering committee that will help guide this position, as well as a youth council to ensure that youth voices are represented,

“This coordinator will help youth navigate the various systems and services and will also ensure that community agencies are linked together to ensure that a comprehensive youth program design is implemented.”

Fraser Health public affairs consultant Jacqueline Blackwell also added that part of the coordinator’s role is finding locations for programs and partnering with organizations to set up after-school recreation programs.

HATS’ latter role as the mental health and substance use coordinator requires them to  improve mental health, healthy living and social connectedness among vulnerable residents of Hope and the Fraser Canyon through expanding early intervention programs, addressing needs such as food, shelter and recreational opportunities.

“We will hire a part-time substance use worker to work as part of an Outreach Mobile Team to offer a collaborative team approach in the Boston Bar area, Chawathil First Nation and at a location in Hope,” added Dyble.

“In having a mobile team that will deliver services on-site to individuals through a wrap-around approach, the intent is that individuals will have greater access to Mental Health, Substance Use service, Detox Services, Child/Youth Mental Health Services.”

The Read Right Society received $50,000 for a volunteer coordinator, in charge  of engaging seniors and newcomers to get involved in community activities and support

A central role for them is to match volunteers with opportunities and expand inter-generational programs.

Hope Medical Centre and the Fraser Canyon Clinic received $50,000 for a health services coordinator that connects residents to disease management and health promotion programs.

“The coordinator will integrate currently existing community programs focused on chronic disease prevention and improve accessibility healthy living initiatives, including QuitNow, BC Smoking Cessation Program, and the UBC Healthy Aging Program,” wrote Blackwell.

Hope Care Transit Society now has $50,000 towards a community transport program that aims to increase transportation links through the Fraser Canyon.

The District of Hope will also receive a $25,000 grant to establish a bus from Hope to Chilliwack, in collaboration with BC Transit.

The aforementioned grants are renewable grants in future years.

Fraser Health will reveal the awardees’ performance on a quarterly basis, using an evaluation framework that judges based on deliverables and outcome measurements.

For example, the Youth Coordinator’s outcome measurements include a reduction of the rate of depression, suicide and an increase in the sense of community belonging.

The only grant that is one-time is the active transport grant, where $25,000 will go towards AdvantageHOPE.

The goal of that grant is to develop pedestrian and cycling routes from Silver Creek, Kawkawa Lake and the Ross Road area to the downtown core.

They will also partner with the Fraser Valley Regional District to develop further pedestrian, hiking and mountain biking trail networks in the Fraser Canyon.

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