**From files provided by the Government of British Columbia.
September 20, 2019 - British Columbia communities are encouraged to support seniors so they can live active, socially engaged and independent lives, as $500,000 in a new round of age-friendly grants are open for application.
“Seniors who are connected to their communities and stay active live longer and healthier lives,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “Age-friendly grants are instrumental in supporting seniors and I hope communities around British Columbia apply so there can be local supports in place so seniors can live as independently as possible.”
The age-friendly communities grant program is a partnership between the Province and the Union of British Columbia Municipalities.
“Seniors are at the heart of our Province – they built British Columbia into the great place that it is today,” said Anne Kang, Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors. “There is a lot of wonderful work being done by local communities to help seniors stay engaged, healthy, and active. Congratulations to all those who have achieved age-friendly recognition this year, and I encourage new communities to apply for a grant.”
Local governments and First Nations communities must submit their applications for 2020 grants to the Union of British Columbia Municipalities by Friday, Jan. 17, 2020. They may apply for a grant of up to $25,000 for age-friendly assessments and action plans. Once an assessment and action plan has been developed, communities may apply for subsequent grants of up to $15,000 to support age-friendly projects.
Some examples of projects in demand of funding include seniors housing and transportation strategies, programs to support social connectedness and mental health, and strategies around healthy eating and physical activity.
There were 37 communities that received 2019 age-friendly grants, up from 33 in 2018, and 18 in 2017.
The Province also provides communities that have completed steps toward becoming age-friendly an official recognition by the Province as an age-friendly British Columbia community.
There are 10 communities being recognized in 2019 as age-friendly, meaning they are taking steps to ensure British Columbia seniors can live active, socially engaged and independent lives. Cranbrook, Gibsons, Houston, Kelowna, Lake Cowichan, Nanaimo, Naramata, Okanagan Falls, Osoyoos and Rossland have received a digital badge to promote their status on their website, and on any other promotional material. As well, they will be invited to join the national and global network of age-friendly communities. There are 57 officially recognized age-friendly communities in B.C. in 2019, up from 47 in 2018.
Councillor Arjun Singh, president, Union of British Columbia Municipalities –
“This funding program is helping B.C. communities build capacity to improve service delivery for older residents. I appreciate the ongoing support of the provincial government for the Age Friendly program.”
More information about Age-Friendly BC can be found by visiting: http://www.gov.bc.ca/agefriendly
The UBCM age-friendly funding application page is available online: https://www.ubcm.ca/EN/main/funding/lgps/age-friendly-communities.html