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Christine Woodhouse, Client Support Worker with the Community Care Health & Care Network.

United Way grant supports teleconferencing group for caregivers

in Health/Seniors by

The United Way for the City of Kawartha Lakes (UWCKL) has announced that the Community Care Health and Care Network is the recipient of a $5,000 grant from the Telecare Mona Hall Fund. The funds will be used to help Community Care create a free teleconference caregiver support program, based on a successful pilot project.

Penny Barton Dyke, Executive Director for UWCKL said, “The funds will be dedicated to setting up a communication support system to assist families who are caring for a relative or friend. Community agencies and partners have seen significant increases in the number of families taking on the role of informal care providers for a family member in their home and the prediction is this role will increase with our aging population.”

“Teleconferencing will increase access to support and education for caregivers who may not be able to leave the home due to caregiving duties, transportation barriers or time constraints,” says Community Care Director of Community Support Services Joan Skelton.  A recent pilot project with caregivers using the teleconference outreach was very positively received.

“With this generous grant from the Telecare Mona Hall Fund, individuals can now participate in the Caregiver Connection Teleconference Series to provide a meaningful supportive opportunity that will contribute to social inclusion and build social connections with others in the community who are going through a similar situation, all from the comfort of their own home,” explains Skelton. The first teleconference group for caregivers will be held on Wednesday, March 27 at 7 p.m. The group will be presented on the fourth Wednesday of the month.

When Lifeline Telecare closed its doors a few years ago, the organization’s remaining funds were transferred to UWCKL to administer through a committee process and to help local groups initiate innovative programs in response to emerging or identified community priorities over a five-year period.

The funds have been overseen by a committee of volunteers with expertise. Four agencies have received funding since the launch of the grant fund in 2016: Kawartha Sexual Assault addressed dating violence prevention for youth; Ontario Early Years created the Queen Victoria Public School Summer Outreach Program; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kawartha Lakes-Haliburton created an in-School Mentoring Resource initiative and marketing for mentors and last year, The John Howard Society started a Caring Dads Program to increase skills for fathers needing special supports.

“Over the years, we have been given the privilege of small legacy gifts which have allowed us to invest in people in real time.  When donors give to UWCKL they do so with purpose and with the knowledge that funds go to high priority needs which are monitored with the help of citizen review panel teams ensuring transparency and accountability,” adds Barton Dyke.  Next year will be the final year for the Mona Hall Fund.

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