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Strategies for the future
In this IssueExtending Telephone Support
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An $85,000 annual grant from the Ontario Ministry of Health is making it possible for the Wellington-Dufferin Seniors’ TeleCheck service to double the number of people it serves.
The Distress Centre of Wellington-Dufferin (Community Torchlight) began offering service to seniors in 2004. They modelled their program after a senior’s telephone support service that has been operated for 20 years by the distress centre serving Sarnia and Lambton County. Initially Wellington-Dufferin received funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. But when that came to a close in 2006, the program was forced to either shut down or continue operating on a shoe-string budget of only $5,000 per year.
“For the next two years we worked out of donated space,” says executive director Jessie Baynham. “We only paid for phone lines. ”Baynham, a mother of one who’s worked in Guelph’s mental health field for the past 10 years, credits her volunteers with keeping the program alive. “Without them we would have had to drop it,” she says.
When appealing to the Central West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) for funding approval, Baynham says the LHIN was impressed with the simplicity and efficiency of their service to seniors. As well, she adds, TeleCheck is a phone line, not a clinical service, making it somewhat informal. “LHIN is looking at funding more preventative and holistic services, hoping to reduce wait times and catch symptoms earlier, and that’s what we do.”
In order to receive direct funding from the Ministry of Health, the Distress Centre needed to partner with a lead agency already receiving government dollars. They approached the Alzheimer Society of Dufferin County, which agreed to collaborating. As a result, the Seniors TeleCheck service received funds to hire a fulltime program coordinator as well as program dollars.
“With any non-profit program, the majority of the funding goes towards salary and benefits for staff,” explains Baynham, who became executive director in 2007 after serving for two years as crisis line supervisor. “Then there’s money leftover for program costs such as training, recruiting, promotion, community education, etcetera.”
The biggest challenge over the coming months will be to double their current complement of 12 volunteers, says Baynham. Getting clients, she explains, is not a problem; the service already has a waiting list of seniors longing for the daily telephone check-up which not only ensures their safety and health, but provides a regular social connection in an otherwise isolated rural district.
In addition to expanding their clientele from 45 to 80, Wellington-Dufferin also plans to partner with Telecare Distress Centre Brampton in planning a new TeleCheck location, allowing for a multilingual seniors’ service in the Peel region.
World Suicide Awareness Day Event Raises Funds and Fosters Hope
In September 2008 the membership of Distress Centres Ontario met in Brampton, ON to review the strategic priorities of their association. The input, discussions and ideas of everyone present were very important in setting the direction and activities for the next three years.
* Launch a DC Accreditation Process in order to accredit all member centres by 2011
* Significantly increase awareness of Distress Centre access points and of the value of DCO amongst key groups that need our services or can help us strategically in realizing our social objectives
* Strenghten and expand training, education and information - sharing opportunities for DCO and association member staff and volunteers
* Establish integrated help lines province-wide and use new technologies to increase the number of service access points for Ontarians
* Continue to expand the resource capacity of the DC network; with the emphasis on strengthening financial support, organizational development and human resources.
The Mission and Vision of the association were also reviewed. The Board of Directors of DCO will be discussing all the input and after the 'wordsmithing' is completed they will approve the new documents. Expect to see the new Mission/Vision and Strategic Priorities on the www.dcontario.org web site in early 2009.
Volunteers are the life force of the Distress Line movement and their contributions were celebrated at the Spirit of Volunteerism Recognition Event held on September 19th.
The recognition event, held at Lionhead Golf Club, was very well attended with family, friends and staff and volunteer supporters. The nominations for the 2009 recognition will be opening next month. We encourage everyone to review the nomination criteria well ahead of the deadline of February '09.
How many Distress Centres in Ontario have or are establishing Senior's TeleCheck reassurance lines supported by Ministry of Heath funding?
Name the centres and the areas they offer service in.
QUIZ OF THE MONTH - Last Month's winner
Congratulations to Cindy Slavik from Distress Centre - Windsor and Essex County for her answer:
Brampton offers Punjabi, Spanish, Mandarin, Hindi, Portuguese, French, Urdu, Arabic, Polish
Volunteer Management - Survey and Focus Group results
Accreditation Working Group - Benefits and Time-line
DCO Board of Directors - meet the Board and read what
PARTNERSHIP TOOLKIT -
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