LISMORE – Community groups in rural Pictou County working to promote health and wellness received some financial help from the regional health boards Friday morning.
The Pictou West Community Health Board and the Central/East Pictou Community Health Board distributed about $43,000 in Community Wellness Funds to 20 community organizations in the county.
The grants are provided by the Department of Health and Wellness to support community initiatives that encourage healthy living.
The grants will support Babies to Boosters’ Safe Seats for Pictou County program, Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Game On! Eat Smart, Play Smart Live Smart program, Frank H. MacDonald Elementary School’s School Swim Program, Friends of Trenton Park Society’s Trenton Park Trails Signage, Karen Lynn MacDonald Allergy Awareness Society’s Education and Promotion Program, Let Abilities Work Partnership Society’s Inclusive Activities for Persons with Disabilities program, Lismore and District Community Hall’s District 1 Seniors Outreach Program and District 1 Yoga Fitness Class, Little Harbour Walking and Bicycling Trails Society’s Pathway Network Development program, Outreach Committee of Green Hill/Alma United Church’s Senior Luncheon and Speakers Series, Pictou County Continuous Learning Association’s Embracing Healthy Living Through Improved Literacy program, Pictou County Heart and Stroke Support Group’s Your Heart Your Health program, Pictou County Roots for Youth’s Capturing Change program, Pictou County Suicide Response Coalition’s Safe Talk Community Education program, Plymouth Community and Recreation Association’s Plymouth Community Garden project, Riverview Volunteer Association’s Riverview Continuing Healthy Lifestyle project, Salt Springs Elementary School’s After School Activity program, St. Columba United Church’s Basic Computers for Seniors program, Westville Heritage Seniors and the Pictou County Aging Well Together Coalition’s Sing and Exercise Away Those Blues program; YMCA’s Learn to Run for Smokers program.
Projects chosen demonstrated to the health boards that they work to keep their communities healthy and promote community leadership development and mentoring programs.
The third annual Ed Bowden Community Wellness Award was also presented at the event to the Lismore Community Physically Fitness Challenge Program. The program’s goal is to encourage community members to get active, especially during winter months. A group goal was set for the 65 participants to reach 15,000 kilometres collectively by walking or running, which they surpassed by 5,000 km. Activities such as art classes, knitting and rug hooking were included in this program as well. The Lismore program challenged other rural communities to get involved in the challenge, which Durham, Seafoam, Scotsburn and River John agreed to.
The community health boards in consultation with the Bowden family developed the award to celebrate the late Ed Bowden’s many accomplishments.
“He embodied all of the leadership characteristics that support a strong healthy, caring community,” a former co-worker of Bowden’s, Linda Muir, said to the crowd before the award was presented. Muir said Bowden had strong community spirit, was a role model in his community, had a passion for living a healthy lifestyle and an innovative nature.
Bowden’s daughter, Michelle Bowden, described why Lismore Community Physical Fitness Challenge Program was the recipient for this year’s award.
“This project has built community spirit in the Lismore area and has grown to other communities and is run entirely by a committee of volunteers,” she said. “By taking an inclusive and creative approach in challenging members of the rural community and other rural communities to be active during the winter months, you demonstrated the five criteria of the Ed Bowden Community Wellness Award of demonstrating strong community spirit, building partnerships throughout the community and in other rural communities, promoting optimal health, encouraging volunteerism and being a positive role model in your own community and in other rural communities as well.”
It was also noted at the event that the Pictou West and Central/East Community Health Boards are distributing an additional $8,550 in wellness funds for projects that specifically address childhood obesity. The application for this fund is due March and further information about the grant and the application form are available at HYPERLINK "http://www.pcha.nshealth.ca" www.pcha.nshealth.ca