Cowichan gets Elder Care co-op funding

Rob Douglas, Roger Hart and Georg Stratemeyer are part of Cowichan
Rob Douglas, Roger Hart and Georg Stratemeyer are part of Cowichan's Elder Care Co-op team.
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The wheels are in motion for Cowichan's first elder care co-operative, thanks to a $35,000 grant awarded to local organizations Cowichan Co-op Connections and Volunteer Cowichan.

The funding, secured through a Caring Co-operatively Elder Care Project national initiative, will see those groups combine over the next two years on business and organizational planning, consultations with stakeholders and incorporation on a seniors-focused co-operative.

The Cowichan Valley is the first community in B.C. to receive this funding.

"Once established and fully functional, the new co-op will help seniors with day-to-day tasks so that they can continue to live independently in their own homes and remain connected to their communities," states a media release. "Services may include friendly visiting, transportation to appointments, yard work, minor home repairs, snow shoveling, housekeeping and grocery shopping."

Caring Co-operatively Elder Care Project was launched last fall and is managed by the B.C. Co-operative Association with funding from the Government of Canada's Social Development Partnerships Program and the Vancouver Foundation.

The project supports the development of co-op elder care pilots projects across Canada.

The funding announcement followed a Cowichan Co-operative Connections and Volunteer Cowichan series of public meetings and consultations in recent months to gauge local interest in the idea of establishing an elder care cooperative.

"With everything that's happening with Sunridge and many other private care facilities in British Columbia, it’s becoming increasingly clear that we need alternatives that will do a better job of meeting the community's needs," stated Cowichan Co-op Connections president Rob Douglas. "Co-ops have a proven track record right across the industrialized world of providing high quality services in a way that allows seniors, workers and members of the community to actively participate in setting priorities and making decisions.

"We hope with this funding we can make the Cowichan Valley a model not only for British Columbia but the rest of Canada on how to do things right."

The community's response was overwhelming to the series of meetings, and eventually led to the establishment of an advisory committee made up of community members who worked with Cowichan Co-operative Connections and Volunteer Cowichan to submit a full application to the Caring Co-operatively Elder Care Project," states a media release.



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