Sixteen community-based projects that support and care for Northern seniors are receiving $321,797 in federal funding, announced NWT MP Michael McLeod on July 23.
The funding is coming from the New Horizons for Seniors Program, a federal initiative designed to help the nation’s seniors. Projects are eligible to receive up to $25,000 in grant funding through the program. Up to $5,000 in grants are available for organizations that have not received funding within the last five years.
One in six Canadians is a senior citizen. By 2030 the government is projecting there will be 1.6 million seniors, which will account for a quarter of the population.
Yellowknife’s Avens seniors’ community is receiving $25,000 for a gardening initiative called Growing Green with Seniors.
The funding will allow Avens to buy a greenhouse, compost bins and gardening tools.
“This is a multi-year sustainable gardening project that will provide our senior residents the opportunity to share knowledge and unique Northern culture of Indigenous nature while composting and growing vegetables and herbs together,” said Daryl Dolynny, CEO of Avens.
“Nurturing the mind body and spirit, Avens’ Growing Green with Seniors will help clients function with more dexterity, independence and confidence,” she continued.
The produce will be used to feed the seniors in the Avens seniors’ community. Excess vegetables will be shared with the Baker Community Centre or sold at the Yellowknife Farmers Market.
The NWT Seniors’ Society is receiving $18,364 for a program called It’s Not Right to raise awareness about the issue of elder abuse.
“It is a program where we teach community members, leaders, healthcare providers and seniors about elder abuse, how to prevent it and we get communities to create a prevention program and action plan,” said NWT Seniors’ Society spokesperson Brianna Krekoski.
Krekoski also said the society is in the process of applying for a five-year $1.8 million grant through the New Horizons for Seniors Program.
“This project is going to target one of the other main issues we’re facing for seniors becoming more engaged in our communities and that is isolation,” she said. “It’s something that people face across the country, especially in smaller communities across the NWT where it is particularly challenging for seniors to stay engaged and feel valued as members of their communities.”
The project will offer programming for vulnerable seniors in ten Northern communities. An announcements about the program should be coming in August, said Krekoski.
The Yellowknife Tennis Club is received $5,000 for a seniors drop-in tennis program and the NWT Community Services Corporation received $15,050 to organize a seniors’ group in Northern United Place.