Local agencies receive federal funding to help seniors

About $70,000 will be distributed by the United Way through New Horizons for Seniors Program

GUELPH – Seniors in Wellington County will be among those benefitting from federal funding distributed by the local United Way.

Just over $70,000 will be distributed to local agencies by United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin through the government’s New Horizons for Seniors Program.

The funding is part of a $9-million fund announced by the government in early April “to respond to the immediate and urgent needs of seniors (55+) in all parts of Canada, including rural and remote communities,” officials say.

“Initially, when the pandemic started, basic needs such as food insecurity, social isolation and the mental health of both seniors and their caregivers were identified as the top priorities of those working with our seniors population,” said Colleen Murdoch, communications director of the local United Way.

“We distributed funding based on what our community partners were telling us were the immediate needs, and although we know that these needs will continue to change over the course of the next few months, we hope this assistance will increase the capacity of our partners to continue to care for one of our most vulnerable populations.”

Seniors minister Deb Schulte stressed that while “physical distancing is essential to protecting seniors from COVID-19, it risks isolating them from their community.”

She said the New Horizons for Seniors funding “will help provide support tailored to the unique, local needs of seniors across the country.”

United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin, after consulting various agencies in the region, awarded funding to the following groups:

  • Guelph Wellington Seniors Association – delivery of four individual frozen meals per week to 130 seniors;
  • CHMA Waterloo Wellington – for a county-wide communications plan to ensure seniors stay connected and engaged to reduce social isolation;
  • Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) Meals on Wheels – to increase the number of seniors served, through meal delivery and virtual programming;
  • The Elliott Community in Guelph – for the purchase of iPads to help 90 seniors there stay connected to their families;
  • East Wellington Community Services – for delivery of individual frozen meals to seniors and the purchase of iPads;
  • Family Counselling and Support Services for Guelph-Wellington – to support the increased demand and training of new volunteers;
  • Immigrant Services – for interpretation and translation services for newcomer seniors experiencing isolation;
  • Guelph Independent Living – to purchase groceries and food hampers for seniors in need;
  • Shelburne Food Bank – to increase the number of food hampers delivered to seniors and to supplement contents with more produce, grains and dairy;
  • Orangeville Food Bank – to support for the preparation of individual meals delivered to seniors; and
  • Alzheimers Dufferin – to purchase iPads and activity kits for clients.

Funds provided to these agencies through the New Horizons for Seniors program are in addition to the funds being raised through the United Way’s COVID-19 Community Response Fund. Agencies are encouraged to continue to apply for funds at unitedwayguelph.com/covid19application.