Thirty-one projects that aim to improve quality of life in the Columbia Basin, focus on children’s development and strengthen social service organizations are receiving nearly $680,000 from Columbia Basin Trust’s Social Grants program.

“Alongside many community organizations in the region, the Trust is dedicated to helping all people in the Basin meet their needs and access the resources that will help them address challenges and thrive in their communities,” said Aimee Ambrosone, Columbia Basin Trust Executive Director, Delivery of Benefits. “These projects will boost the well-being of a wide range of people by addressing a variety of social issues and opportunities.”

For example, the Hospice Society of the Columbia Valley—with the help of volunteers, hospice staff, school staff and others—will provide support to children affected by loss and assist them in understanding and processing their grief in healthy ways.

“Children who aren’t able to discuss and process their grief may experience increased feelings of isolation, loneliness and distress,” said Michèle Neider, Executive Director. “This project will help by fostering well-being in children who are the future of this valley.”

In Cranbrook, the Summit Community Services Society will offer a free counselling and support program for men dealing with issues like trauma, depression or substance abuse. It will specifically help them deal with five emotions: anger, happiness, sadness, fear and shame.

“Our community faces constant demand for supports for men, and yet these supports are lacking,” said Heather Rennebohm, Executive Director. “This program will ensure that assistance for men who are facing and want to overcome challenges is easily accessible in the community in a secure surrounding.”

The Lardeau Valley Community Club will offer a weekly seniors’ program in Meadow Creek aimed at reducing social isolation and increasing community connection. The program includes a combination of gentle exercise, to help with mobility and balance, and a tea social, which gives participants time to socialize.

“This project provides an activity for seniors to participate in through the winter months, when depression and isolation occur more often,” said Amanda Cutting, Treasurer. “Also, we keep a list of all seniors who are involved in the project; if someone misses a day, we call and make sure they’re okay.”

In Valemount, Robson Valley Community Services will offer a drop-in for youth, hosted by child and youth mental health workers. Here, youth seeking help will find an open and safe space to speak about mental health issues, such as eating disorders and substance misuse, and they can access resources and peer support.

“We hope to encourage youth to connect more, learn they are not alone and learn about available resources,” said Emily Cannon, Child and Youth Mental Health Worker/PEACE Program Counsellor. “The goals are to decrease the negative stigma around the phrase ‘mental health,’ decrease the feeling of isolation that youth coping with mental health issues may encounter and provide positive coping strategies.”

In Fernie, Cycling Without Age received $17,000 to reduce social isolation for seniors and people with mobility issues by using trishaws to facilitate active involvement in their communities.

See the backgrounder for a description of all 31 projects.

The guidelines and deadlines for the next intake of Social Grants will be posted soon on ourtrust.org/socialgrants, or get notified by signing up for the Trust’s e-newsletter at ourtrust.org/newsletter.

Columbia Basin Trust supports the ideas and efforts of the people in the Columbia Basin. To learn more about the Trust’s programs and initiatives, and how it helps deliver social, economic and environmental benefits to the Basin, visit ourtrust.org or call 1.800.505.8998.

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