Trail council agreed unanimously to increase its budget for the shared seniors coordinator position during the last governance meeting of the year, Dec. 13.
The position is shared by Trail, Warfield, and Rossland, and was first introduced in early 2020 with funding support from the Columbia Basin Trust (Trust).
However, due to COVID the anticipated roll out of the pilot project was impacted severely by the ongoing pandemic. With many of the services and programs cancelled in 2020, the Trust agreed to allow residual funding to carry over to 2021.
Moving forward into 2022, the Trust funding is no longer available, so the three communities were each asked to up their contributions from $6,000 to $16,600, and provide another $2,000 in in-kind services to support the project.
“I think with the closure of our senior citizens centre in Trail last year, which was I believe largely volunteer run, it’s really important to continue our commitment to support seniors,” said Mayor Lisa Pasin. “Through the pandemic it has been indicated that they are an increasingly vulnerable population and having outreach to them and programming and a sense of support shared by the three municipalities is a great idea.”
After 60 years, Trail Seniors Branch 47 closed on Dec. 31, 2020, leaving a void in the social and mental welfare of local seniors.
The shared seniors coordinator acts as a conduit for seniors to service providers in the communities. In addition, the coordinator is tasked with identifying needs and interests of seniors and with planning social events. As well, the coordinator is in charge of developing basic programming, and social engagement opportunities within each of the three towns.
The part-time position provides 20 hours of work per week for 10 months and allows for approximately 10 regional event offerings, educational programming sessions, as well as advertising and promotion, including a newsletter to keep senior residents connected and up-to-date.
Beaver Valley and the regional district also expressed interest in joining the shared service. Council, however, wanted to keep the agreement as-is for 2022 and agreed to revisit the opportunity next year.