Written by Petra Pardy, Executive Director, Health Services of Chilliwack, Hope, Agassiz and the Fraser Canyon

A community garden and door-to-door transportation for people with mobility issues are just two of the impressive projects that have resulted from the Hope Health and Well-Being Initiative.

We provided the money last December to improve health indicators such as life expectancy and chronic disease in the community.

In 2016, a My Health My Community survey indicated that while Hope ranks strongly in some areas, the community could improve in a number of health indicators. In addition to challenges related to life expectancy and chronic disease, Hope lagged behind other Fraser Health communities in the areas of mental health, smoking, and physical activity.

The community developed 10 strategies to improve access to transportation, healthy food/food security, recreation, programs and services for children and youth, seniors, and health (including mental health and substance use) and social services. After a detailed expression of interest process, we awarded funding to organizations that successfully applied for grants connected to each strategy.

Since funds were awarded in early December, grant recipients have generated a number of notable results, including:

  • The establishment of youth councils as part of a collaborative mobile youth health and wellness outreach program.
  • The facilitation of 15 mental health and substance use workshops.
  • The launch of a volunteer information website, volunteer database, and Volunteer Week workshops.
  • The coordination of more than 400 visits to the Hope Medical Centre to address health concerns that previously required patients to travel to Chilliwack. Now, specialists are brought into the centre specific days of the week to provide obstetrics, gynecology, surgery, prenatal care, respiratory services and physiotherapy.
  • The expansion of a volunteer door-to-door transportation program to serve people with mobility or transportation barriers living in Hope and the communities of the Fraser Canyon. Designed to better connect them to health and community services, the initiative has already logged 10,780 kilometres and more than 218 hours on the road.

The early successes we have seen are truly a testament to the power of many partners coming together to achieve a common goal of a healthier, more engaged community. This work would not be possible without strong partnerships at all levels, and the organizations and individuals involved in this work should be proud.

Read the full news release.

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