The Region of Durham is applauding the province’s recent funding announcement that will help improve the quality of life for seniors and people living with disabilities.
The province recently announced funding of up to $60,000 for an Inclusive Community Grant for the Durham Enhanced Technology and Virtual Learning Series.
Through a proposed two-part initiative – involving virtual learning and increased access to public transit – the region and its local community partners are aiming to “improve access to safe, affordable transportation for seniors and those with disabilities, reduce social isolation, and maintain the dignity of older adults and people with disabilities, through enhanced virtual programming.”
Regional Chair John Henry says the funding will allow older adults to engage in virtual community activities, learn about program and services they may not have known about previously, or didn’t have transportation to access.
“The Region’s Age-Friendly Durham Strategy and Action Plan is designed to help older adults remain engaged in their community,” he says, noting it will lessen the impact of social isolation on their mental and physical wellbeing.
“By providing access to information on a range of topics, we can help encourage lifelong learning for older adults. We can help them maintain positive physical and mental health,” he adds.
Part one is a series of virtual learning opportunities, including live and pre-recorded events, which will offer access to information about various topics, such as falls prevention, online fraud prevention, fire safety, healthy cooking workshops, and more.
A series of innovative community challenge activities will help older adults to remain active, socially engaged, and connected.
According to the region, these courses, which will be offered through various platforms, including Facebook and YouTube, have the potential to reach up to 198,000 older adults across Durham.
With about 10,000 of these individuals residing in Brock, Scugog and Uxbridge, the annual in-person North Durham Seniors Fair, hosted in Scugog, has the opportunity to be transformed into a free, virtual event that includes service information from community agencies and workshops.
A launch date for these sessions will be determined at a later date.
Part two will focus on increased access to public transit services.
This initiative also aims to allow easier access to Durham Region Transit’s On Demand shuttle service.
According to the region, nine transit booking kiosks will be installed in local retirement residences, long-term care homes, and community service locations — one of which will offer a television monitor displaying real-time bus arrival information for an adjacent bus stop.
“This is anticipated to reduce outdoor wait times in harsh weather conditions, while also providing enough time to arrive at the bus stop safely and securely,” states the region, adding more information about the kiosks will be available in the near future.
Whitby MPP Lorne Coe says Inclusive Community Grants projects are a great way for local projects to go from idea to reality in Durham.
“I congratulate all grant recipients, and I want to thank municipalities and community organizations for their ongoing support and partnership during these challenging times,” he says.