Community stakeholder session a success

Fraser Health hosted its first ever stakeholder consultation for the community of Hope to determine how to spend $500,000 in grant money

Community strategists met around tables to discuss areas for consideration for a $500

Fraser Health hosted its first stakeholder consultation to a packed room at the Hope Golf Course last Thursday. Representatives from Fraser Health, the District, and members of the community led the two hour brainstorming session to determine community wants and needs for the direction of a $500,000 grant Fraser Health made to the District of Hope.

The grant was gifted to the community based on results gleaned from a survey study that puts Hope on top of communities in need of assistance.

Statistics and figures demonstrate Hope scoring far below other B.C. communities in the areas of longevity and quality of living.

“Our goal is to develop and design community-based actions that address gaps and improve areas of health and well-being, while ensuring community-based actions are rooted in prevention and care management,” said Fraser Health Executive Director for Fraser Canyon Hospital Petra Pardy.

A presentation made by Fraser Health Authority to attendees showed Hope scoring above average on risk factors like education, smoking, income, residents living alone and residents with not enough to eat.

According to statistics, 22 per cent of the population are smokers, compared to the rest of Fraser Health at 11 per cent. Life expectancy in Hope is 76.5 years compared to 82.4 elsewhere in the province (aside from Burnaby which scored the highest at 84.2 years.) Diseases like diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and COPD are significantly higher than in the rest of Fraser Health.

Several questions were posed to tables around the room, structured after a community-based system for health model by Fraser Health, and targeted at identifying and prioritizing community-based actions and strategies. Energy was high as participants hashed it out to discover areas where the money could be put to good use. Armed with markers and large sheets of paper, strategists went to work. Results were then posted around the room for discussion.

Of the results listed, some of the key ones included improving community services, education, youth programs, food programs, mental health services and resources, integration and isolation prevention for residents, clinics and community based care targeted toward seniors, affordable and clean housing, resident retention, telehealth services and transportation initiatives.

Results from the evening’s consultation and other consultations will be evaluated to help discern where the money will land.

“I’m really impressed with the turnout,” said Communications Coordinator for Chilliwack Division of Family Practice, Asma Farooq. “It will be interesting to see how it all comes together.”