robinson newest member of gateway board of directors
Members of the Board of Directors for the Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health recently welcomed their newest member, Patricia Robinson during a meeting held over ZOOM. (Submitted photos)
Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health (Gateway) is happy to announce that Patricia Robinson has recently joined their Board of Directors. Robinson grew up in Huron County and has returned to Goderich as a Nurse Practitioner at the Maitland Valley Medical Centre.
Robinson has embraced learning throughout her life with several university degrees. She has volunteered with organizations, including the Huron Hospice Site Development Committee and the Canadian Ski Patrol. She has also volunteered in Tanzania and Guyana, teaching and delivering primary care.
Her work experience includes being a primary school teacher in such diverse locations as Chad in Africa, Mexico, Spain, Toronto and Thunder Bay. Following her teaching career, she stepped into nursing and has had experience working in long term care settings, First Nations clinics, hospital emergency departments and numerous family health teams in Ontario. She helped author a Clinical Practice Guideline for Nurses in a First Nations setting.
She enjoys travel, within Canada and internationally. She likes being active, whether it is hiking, kayaking, gardening, or skiing. Her interests in mentoring health care professionals and improving community health align well with Gateway and its goals.
Robinson commented that she is committed to people and communities. She looks forward to the challenge of being a member of the Gateway board.
Gateway President Gwen Devereaux said that “with Patricia’s background our board is one step closer in Gateway CERH becoming Canada’s leader in rural health research”.
The board is excited to welcome and work alongside Patricia to improve rural health. Her interpersonal, organizational and leadership skills will be a tremendous asset for Gateway.
Check out Gateway's website to learn more about Gateway and how they are improving the health and welfare of local communities at www.gatewayruralhealth.ca/.
Huron Out of the Cold program expands support for homeless
Opening Nov. 16, the “Huron Out of the Cold: Heart to Home” program will expand on the efforts of the previous “Out of the Cold” program, with increased funding and staff specially trained in trauma informed care, substance use, and mental health services. The new program aims to provide an emergency shelter that also offers wrap-around supports for homeless individuals in Huron County.
“It’s important that we build relationships with vulnerable members in our community, including those who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of becoming homeless,” said Warden Jim Ginn. “Our Social and Property Services staff along with CMHA Elgin-Middlesex and Choices for Change will be coordinating an emergency shelter that also provides wrap-around services with a long-term goal of ensuring that all Huron County community members have a home.”
Through a partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and Choices for Change, Huron Out of the Cold: Heart to Home will be staffed with trained professionals and aims to provide wrap-around supports and services with a goal of transitioning guests into permanent housing solutions.
“As a community mental health agency, we know how critical and necessary wrap-around supports are in helping individuals who are experiencing or are at risk for homelessness.” said Beth Mitchell, CEO of CMHA Elgin-Middlesex. “We look forward to working closely with our partners and the community to ensure those most vulnerable are receiving the supports they need, such as a listening ear, coping strategies, a connection to housing resources and other services, and more.”
“Choices for Change is very pleased to be part of this very important initiative,” said Choices for Change Executive Director, Catherine Hardman. “Although not all individuals experiencing homelessness have addiction and/or mental health issues, it is important to have that expertise available for those that do. We are glad to work with CMHA to provide support to those in the shelter and assist in their move to more permanent housing.”
The emergency shelter will be located in Goderich at Lakeshore United Church and will be able to accommodate up to 15 individuals per evening, with meals provided, for the cold weather season.
“The Town of Goderich is supportive of this important initiative being located in our community,” said Goderich Mayor, John Grace “Ensuring the safety of all of our community members during the colder season is of critical importance. I am glad that we have been able to work with the County of Huron and all of the partner agencies and municipalities on the Homelessness Task Force to make this emergency shelter happen.”
Through the County of Huron Homelessness Task Force, efforts to advocate on behalf of local communities and vulnerable individuals continue on the municipal and provincial level, including member representation by the County’s Warden and local mayors from the Town of Goderich, Municipality of South Huron, Township of North Huron, Township of Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh, and Municipality of Central Huron. Local government in Huron County is committed to working together to address and prevent homelessness in Huron communities.
The County of Huron and its partner agencies are dedicated to taking both immediate and long-term actions to improve the quality of life for all residents of Huron County. These actions encompass inclusivity and awareness of intersectionality, acknowledging the differences and complexities for every individual in need of support.
The County extends its thanks to the Lakeshore United Church, and to every other agency, community group, and volunteer, who has and continues to contribute time and resources for Huron’s Out of the Cold program and showing compassion to taking care of the community’s most vulnerable persons.
For more information on Huron Out of the Cold: Heart to Home, including emergency shelter contacts, please visit www.HuronCounty.ca/housing.
Covid case counts climbing
As of Nov. 10, Huron Perth Public Health (HPPH) is reporting three new confirmed cases of COVID-19 today, 48 of which are active cases, the highest number of active cases at a time seen so far in the pandemic in Huron and Perth. The outbreak continues at Cedarcroft Place Retirement Residence, and there are now 50 confirmed cases associated with the outbreak, including 34 residents and 16 staff; three residents who tested positive have unfortunately passed away.
“I understand the level of concern in our community with the increasing numbers and with the unfortunate ongoing outbreak in one of our retirement homes,” said Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Miriam Klassen. “Local public health, provincial organizations, the hospital and community partners have all been working collaboratively alongside the leadership at Cedarcroft Retirement Home to stabilize care, and work to prevent further spread of illness.”
Organizations and partners that are assisting with the response include the Huron Perth Pandemic Response Triad, South West Pandemic Response Triad, Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance, South West LHIN and Ontario Health West. An infection control specialist from Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance is currently on-site working with the staff.
Knollcrest Lodge in Perth East continues to be in outbreak with no additional cases at this time. The outbreak at Mitchell Nursing Home, which had been declared out of an abundance of caution, was declared over on the afternoon of Nov. 10.
There are currently nine active community cases of COVID-19 not counted as part of the outbreaks, most notably with four active cases in Perth East. No additional cases have been confirmed that are associated with Milverton Public School.
“We expected a second wave and it has arrived,” said Dr. Klassen. “It’s important now more than ever that we remain vigilant and continue to limit your contacts, stay home if you are sick, wash your hands often, wear a face covering, and maintain physical distance from people outside of your household. The more actions we can take on a personal level, the better we can protect our vulnerable residents, such as our community members who live in retirement and long-term care homes.”
It’s important for residents across Huron-Perth to continue public health measures:
· Stay home if sick
· Wash hands regularly and thoroughly
· Maintain physical distance of 6 feet / 2 metres from those not in the same household
· Wear a non-medical cloth face covering where physical distancing cannot be maintained.
“We must all act as if we could come into contact with COVID-19 anywhere in any community and act as if we could pass COVID-19 on unknowingly,” said Dr. Klassen.
Huron Waves Music Festival to host online auction
Get ready to have some fun completing Christmas shopping this year, with the “Celebrate the Season with Huron Waves Auction”, set to open online on Monday, Nov. 16. Personal visits by Santa and Mrs. Claus; a spring golf tournament for eight, including dinners and bus transportation; collections of holiday music CDs; Samsonite luggage; paintings and framed photographs; cooking classes and fine dining, they are all up for auction to the highest bidder, in support of Huron Waves Music Festival (HWMF).
“There are more than 100 items with a distinctively local flavor, all graciously donated by individuals who have readily offered support to Huron Waves despite the current challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Cass Bayley, who is chair of the fund-raising committee.
Every Monday from Nov. 16 to Dec. 7, a new lot of new products, services and experiences will be listed on-line, with bidding open until that Saturday. The auction closes on Saturday, Dec. 12.
“We have so many wonderful fund-raising ideas that tie together music, food and companionship, but we’ve had to put them on hold for now. This auction is a safe way for everyone to have fun, be entertained, and raise funds so that we can bring international artists to our area,” she said.
Bidders are encouraged to register for the auction now, at www.huronwavesauction.ca, and be poised to start bidding on Nov. 16. Safely gather family in your bubble every Saturday afternoon to see who submitted the highest bid.
All funds support Huron Waves Music Festival (HWMF), which will showcase the best of Canadian and visiting international artists at an annual springtime music festival in the region that includes Grand Bend, Exeter and other communities.
Its 2020 Festival was originally scheduled for the first two weekends of May, but emergency measures initiated to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic have twice delayed it.
rural response and gateway Help Seniors stay connected
Worry about aging parents is raising stress levels for Huron County’s sandwich generation. By the end of March, Rural Response for Healthy Children’s (RRHC) parent support team contacted over 200 families from their client list. Parents and caregivers expressed a multitude of factors causing more stress during the pandemic. Juggling their family needs at home while also checking in on aging parents, undertaking a list of to-dos to support their aging parents to isolate, worry about the virus and the longevity of the new normal are heavy weights.
In early March, pre-pandemic, RRHC received approval from the federal government’s New Horizons for Seniors program to build understanding and awareness about grandparents who are raising their grandchildren in Huron County. By early April, the project funding was leveraged to provide immediate pandemic support to Huron County seniors who isolated at home to decrease their risk of exposure to coronavirus.
“This was our chance to respond to what the support team was hearing from parents as a major stressor in their lives,” said to Selena Hazlitt, RRHC’s Executive director. Five-thousand dollars was immediately transferred to OneCare’s grocery delivery efforts and collaboration was struck with the Huron County Food Distribution Center (HCFDC) to provide food to grandparents who are raising grandchildren as well as weekly support and provision of masks.
As a follow-up to the initial funding, in September 2020, the federal government provided RRHC with additional funds from the New Horizons for Seniors program. These funds are being used to build opportunities for seniors to stay connected during the second wave of the pandemic. It is anticipated that by providing $3,000 to the “Lonely No More” program, developed by Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health (Gateway), some of the stress of parents/caregivers who continue to worry about their aging parents will be alleviated.
The Lonely No More program is an excellent example of a proven model that responds to the needs of isolated seniors. The Lonely No More program consists of weekly teleconference calls between isolated older adults facilitated by trained community members (peer facilitators). These peer facilitators are trained in resource navigation, health coaching dialogues, elder abuse bystander prevention, peer support and the program’s outreach model.
Lonely No More was originally piloted in 2019 to combat loneliness and social isolation felt among rural older adults. During the pilot, the program demonstrated success in providing rural older adults the ability to participate in a free phone based, peer support program that addressed their need for socialization and provided rural older adults a chance to take leadership positions within their community. A number of positive impacts were seen during the pilot program such as the creation of new points of support for rural older adults, created a sense of connection, links between rural older adults through new peer relationships were improved and feelings of self-worth and giving back to the community were created. Due to the positive impacts the program’s peer support model and community interest, the program was offered again this year. With the additional sense of distance and isolation associated with the COVID-19 health pandemic it has been a welcomed service in surrounding rural communities.
Gateway’s mission is to improve the health and quality of life of rural residents through research, education and communication. For more information or to donate, visit www.gatewayruralhealth.ca
RRHC envisions a responsive community that supports, nurtures and strengthens Huron County families. For more information or to donate, visit www.rrhc.on.ca or call 1-800-479-0716.
The Huron Perth Public Health website is updated regularly with confirmed case counts received.
“Our online case reporting is not a real-time tool but is meant to keep the community informed on trends we are seeing,” explains Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Miriam Klassen.
For the latest statistics on COVID-19 cases in Huron and Perth Counties please visit: www.hpph.ca
Cowbell Brewing Co. is pleased to announce it has achieved a major milestone with its “Greener Pastures Community Fund”. As of Sept. 30, Cowbell has raised and donated over $500,000 in support of vital, life-saving programs at Ontario’s four children’s hospitals.
Cowbell has been raising the funds, one nickel at a time, since May 2016 - and 100 per cent of funds are donated.
The Greener Pastures Community Fund is just one of the heartfelt and purposeful ways Cowbell gives back to the broader community.
“The entire team at Cowbell Brewing appreciates the support for our beer, our people and our story, from our Guests and customers across Ontario. Thank you for making this possible,” said Alecia Anderson, Cowbell’s director of Greener Pastures.
Hospitals that benefit from the funds are: Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Ottawa; SickKids, Toronto; McMaster Children’s Hospital, Hamilton; and Children's Hospital, London.
At the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario funds are directed to the Art Therapy Program, helping young patients and family members with healing and self-expression through art. This program is provided by accredited art therapists.
At SickKids, a specific donation has been made to the Epilepsy Classroom, as well as continuing support for the greatest priority needs within patient care, research and education that have life changing and saving effects on young patients and families.
Donations are directed toward necessary renovations to the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic at the McMaster Children’s Hospital.
At London’s Children's Hospital ongoing support is given for the Music Therapy Program for patients to improve areas of health, functioning, and well-being within a therapeutic relationship with an accredited music therapist.
“Thanks to the healthcare heroes for the sacrifices made every day, and especially during this time of such uncertainty. Their service, commitment and courage deserve our deepest gratitude and sincere appreciation,” said Anderson.
Cheers to making a difference, one nickel at a time! Find out more at cowbellbrewing.com/sustainability/community
Member of Parliament for Huron-Bruce, Ben Lobb will be serving on the Standing Committee on International Trade during this Parliamentary session.
“Canada is a trading nation, and our economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic depends on building strong trading relationships with our friends and allies,” said MP Lobb.
The Standing Committee on International Trade is tasked with matters such as international trade policy, and the global trade and investment environment. Lobb has worked on a diverse range of portfolios during his time as a Member of Parliament, including Health, Veterans Affairs, and Public Safety and National Security.
ABCA Outdoor Family Experiences
The traditional one-night Owl Prowl is cancelled for 2020, as part of the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) response during the current COVID-19 pandemic, but the conservation authority is offering activities for the entire month of November to replace the popular event this year.
ABCA is making November, Birds of Prey Month.
Raptors are meat-eating birds of prey and include owls, hawks, eagles, and falcons and they play a very important role in the local ecosystem, according to ABCA.
During the month of November, people may find out more about birds of prey including owls through Outdoor Family Experiences offered by ABCA, through social media posts, and webinars on ZOOM and YouTube.
Interested parties may book a ‘COVID-friendly’ Owl Prowl for their family at Morrison Dam Conservation Area for dates starting in November until Feb. 27, 2021. Staff at ABCA ask everyone to please note that conservation area trails are closed to the public from sunset to sunrise. The public can only use trails at night when a program is booked and they are accompanied by ABCA staff.
Weekend outdoor family experiences can be booked through Eventbrite.ca and include owl prowls; autumn hikes at Bannockburn Conservation Area; pond studies at Morrison Dam Conservation Area (MDCA); fossil hunts at Rock Glen Conservation Area; a nature awareness hike at any conservation area; or ‘Christmas in the Forest’ at MDCA. The Eventbrite.ca website has the available dates and times to register for one of these experiences.
For more information contact conservation education staff at 519 235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610.
The education programs adhere to the pandemic protocols for gathering sizes and social physical distancing, etc. from public health authorities.
The Huron County Museum and the Huron County Historical Society (HCHS) are pleased to announce that the much-anticipated exhibit “Reflections: The Life and Work of J.W. (Jack) McLaren” opened on Oct. 8. People are invited to pre-arrange their visit at their convenience to catch the exhibit, which is on until Apr. 30, 2021.
From mirth and mud at Ypres Salient and Vimy Ridge to the vibrancy of landscapes from Huron County and the Maitland Valley, the exhibit explores McLaren's prolific career as an artist, illustrator, and performer. Reflections is presented in partnership with the HCHS and features close to 100 works on loan from the community.
At this time, the Museum is open to the public Thursday to Sunday, 1-4:30 p.m. To pre-arrange a visit, please call 519 524-2686 and be sure to review the latest guidelines for visiting the Museum on their website.
Reflections is included with regular admission or free for Museum Members and Huron County Library card holders. Please call the Museum at 519 524-2686 to pre-arrange a visit today.
COVID-19 IMPACT Survey
COVID-19 has had serious and potentially long-lasting impacts on communities. While the recovery will be long and difficult for everyone, small and rural communities face particular challenges. A partnership between the University of Guelph (U of G), United Way Perth-Huron’s Social Research and Planning Council (SRPC), the County of Huron, the Huron Arts and Heritage Network and the Listowel Salvation Army aims to ensure rural voices are heard.
“Fifteen per cent of Ontarians live in small communities and rural environments and these areas have a unique voice,” said Leith Deacon, assistant professor at the University of Guelph’s School of Environmental Design and Rural Development. “We want to make sure that voice is heard. We’re looking forward to working in Perth and Huron Counties to learn about the concerns and anxieties of local people as communities look for ways to recover from the pandemic.”
The U of G survey aims to determine not only what planning is required to best support ongoing recovery in Perth and Huron but also how to best increase resilience and well-being over the longer term. Researchers aim to identify vulnerable populations, determine priority programs including mental health, income and food security, and education specifically to support those populations during and after COVID-19, explore opportunities for the non-profit sector and identify emergent mental health and economic concerns. The project is funded through Mitacs, a non-profit research organization that, through partnerships with Canadian academia, private industry and government, operates research and training in fields related to social and industrial innovation.
The research team is encouraging all residents over the age of 18 to complete the survey in an effort to capture the most accurate data that reflects the experiences of people from across Huron and Perth Counties. The survey takes roughly half an hour to complete and is now open to people in Huron. Residents can visit linktr.ee/RURAL_RESPONSE to complete the online version of the survey. All households within Huron County will receive a paper copy in the mail, including a prepaid return envelope.
“We’re looking forward to the results of this important survey,” said SRPC Director of Planning, Susanna Reid. “This research will form the basis of our future research and planning efforts in Perth and Huron Counties. Everyone’s voice is important. What we learn from this research will help shape programs and policies that will be tailored to local needs.”"
The SRPC is operated by United Way Perth-Huron and is comprised of volunteer community representatives dedicated to the collection, analysis and distribution of information relating to local social trends. Research enables United Way to discover and understand the root causes of issues affecting Perth-Huron and in turn mobilize the community.
Knox Presbyterian Church, Bayfield is pleased to invite the community to participate in their Church Services remotely.
Each week Reverend Lisa Dolson shares scripture readings and the week’s message. Hymns and anthems are provided by organist Jean Walker.
Church access can be enjoyed anytime by following this link pccweb.ca/knoxbayfieldpc/weekly-sermon/.