Forward House conducting a research project in Parksville Qualicum Beach

Also, the society is looking for someone to donate a truck

The Forward House Community Society (FHCS) is starting a research project “to better understand the needs of our community” around older adults, “particularly those experiencing chronic health or mental health issues,” according to Executive Director Sharon Welch.

“Older adults,” namely age 55 and over for this project, account for 55 per cent of the population in the project’s Parksville Qualicum Beach study area.

FHCS received an $8,600 Community Action Initiative (CAI) grant to conduct the extensive research, which will include community forums, focus groups, paper-based and online surveys, and one-on-one interviews about programming and transportation issues and opportunities.

Welch said their primary research questions will include: Why are some older adults with chronic health or mental health/addiction issues not accessing the existing programs/services in District 69?; how could businesses/agencies collaborate to help with transportation to and from programs?; and what programs for people with chronic illness or mental health issues would you like to see offered?

The various sessions will range from 20 minute interviews up to two-hour community forums.

From this research FHCS will produce a public report and apply for a subsequent CAI grant of up to $100,000 to implement the recommendations of the following 18 months.

The Parksville based society deals with mental health and addictions recovery and is partnering with more than 25 other groups including the Regional District of Nanaimo, Society of Organized Services and Island Crisis Care Society.

Other partners include the local municipalities, senior government representatives, emergency services and other community and health related groups.

“We hope that community members will take the opportunity to attend one of our forums, visit our online survey, or fill out a questionnaire,” Welch said of the project running until the end of March.

Community forums will take place at the end of February and beginning of March, and a survey will be online by March 1.

• On a side note, Welch said their lawn crew truck recently died, just before the start of the spring season. She said they “are desperately hoping that someone in the community might donate an old truck, or give us a really good deal on one.”

Contact Welch at Forward House at 250-954-0785 for more information.