In 2019, things were looking good. A great deal of time and resources were devoted to completing our renovations, actively participating in the launch and implementation of the new Ottawa Health Team and coming up with new plans to more effectively tackle the challenges faced by our community.
But 2020 will definitely go down in history as an unforgettable year.
While the upheaval caused by COVID‑19 has been unprecedented, the crisis has also shined a light on the disparities and inequities that undermine the physical and mental well‑being of those in our communities.
In our response plan, we engaged all our available resources to support our communities and teams. It certainly wasn’t easy: in order to ensure everyone’s well‑being and safety, we had to adjust our procedures often as the situation developed, make some difficult decisions and lean heavily on our staff. But at this point, we can proudly say that our communities are caring, supportive and resilient. In this report, you will see how we were able to work together to make sure that no one was left behind.
More than anything else, we have written this message to attest to the commitment, devotion and compassion shown by all of the Centretown Community Health Centre’s stakeholders: its board members, staff, clients, volunteers, partners and donors.
A sincere thank you goes out to each and every one of them!
We know we can count on all our people as we weather the rest of this crisis and rebuild our community to be healthy and inclusive.
Now more than ever, our vision is embodied in everything we do to ensure that the people we serve are safe and have their needs met, to the greatest extent possible.
This vision can be achieved if we, as a community, remain united and determined to rebuild and stay healthy.
We lead the way in improving health and wellbeing for people and communities.
Healthy, caring, inclusive communities where everyone matters.
PRESIDENT Sacha Baharmand
VICE-PRESIDENT Patrick Ladouceur
SECRETARY Chantal Krantz
TREASURER Charlie Thompson
BOARD DIRECTORS Leah Bartlett Charlie Brenchley Mike Bulthuis Darcy DeMarsico Justin Holness Valerie Repta Chris Sorfleet Dave Zackrias
STAFF REPRESENTATIVES Anita Ruzansky Dana Sidney
Through social prescribing, 50 clients who were socially isolated or needed support to address the social determination of their health had a direct and fully supported pathway from their clinician to community programs. Ten “health champions” – volunteers were recruited to help CCHC co-design and co-deliver programs.
We won the International Social Prescribing Award with Alliance for Healthier Communities. New groups and programs for women’s exercises, music jam, creative writing, indoor walking, etc. were developed along with partnerships with The Museum of Nature and the National Gallery of Canada.
Following a collaborative co-design process with the trans, two spirit, non binary and intersex community, permanent funding supported increased access for youth 17 and over – helping to bridge the demand in services for youth.
With the support of the Trans Health team and under the guidance of the Trans Health Program Lead, a series of helpful videos and FAQs were developed.
To support people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic, Centretown CHC and Somerset West CHC partnered with city staff to operate the McNabb Respite Centre which provided access to showers and washrooms, harm reduction supplies, meals and a cooling venue for respite from heat.
Since opening, there have been more than 3,700 unique interactions with clients, indicating how critical these services are.
Survey of our LGBTQ newcomer program demonstrated that 93% of participants attend the program as it’s a safe space where people feel comfortable being who they are in all of their identities; 42% of respondents shared that the group/program is essential in accessing newcomer information and referrals; and 95% shared that they are highly satisfied with the program.
Reach of program: 80 unique clients were impacted by the program; with 1,053 group contacts.
During COVID-19, the team has connected with over 100 families to provide them with Emergency baby supplies, Early Learning and Physical Activity Kits.
Breastfeeding support, prenatal and postnatal support were continued by telephone and weekly self-serve baby weight service was offered on-site. Telephone support and information about early childhood development, parenting support and service navigation were provided to families.
In May 2019, the renovation project entered its last phase in providing a welcoming facility to community members. We launched a Request For Proposals for permanent art installations.
Diversity prevailed in the selection of artists who contributed their time and creativity. Consultation and workshops with artists were facilitated with staff and community members to gather ideas and inspiration.
Ken Roberts’ life in the past few years has been the perfect storm of loneliness and social isolation.
Roberts was a caregiver to his ailing father for six years, a stressed-out witness to a string of hospitalizations and descent into dementia. The two shared an apartment and were alone most of the time. Roberts’ father died in 2015, followed by his brother in 2017. Roberts has had depression and was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
“I have pretty much always been introverted,” he said. “I was used to being in the apartment all the time. It became almost a habit.”
But Roberts, 56, also realizes that his health depends on his ability to make a point of getting out of his apartment and doing things with other people. He joined a cooking club and a walking group. On a recent Thursday, Roberts could be found rocking out with the “talent optional music jam” at the Centretown Community Health Centre.
“If you’re interacting with a group, people are expecting you. You’re motivated,” said Roberts. “When you’re by yourself, it’s easy to get into that negativity spiral. It’s important to get that reinforcement from people.”
[…] In Ontario, 11 community health centres, including the Centretown Community Health Centre, were part of a pilot project to issue “social prescriptions” for people who feel disconnected. The prescriptions were for activities ranging from dance lessons to museum visits to boost social connections. Doctors, nurses and other health professionals who identify social disconnectedness can refer clients to “link workers” who find social opportunities tailored to the client.
[…] “We do better with others,” said Natasha Beaudin, the Centretown Community Health Centre’s project lead. Social prescribing has also helped to keep staff attuned to checking on loneliness in their interactions with clients. “Living in downtown Ottawa can be pretty isolating,” said Beaudin.
[…] Ken Roberts said activities like the talent optional music jam are a reason to leave his apartment. “Unless I motivate myself, I just go to fortress mentality. I have to come up with strategies to motivate myself and interact with the world,” he said.Read the full article Material republished with the express permission of: Cochrane Times-Post, a division of Postmedia Network Inc.
The Francophone Newcomer Group provides information, resources and support in French. It is facilitated by a newcomer peer and supported by staff members. These are a few recent comments from members of the group:
“Being able to get together with other Francophones gave me a family I could talk to. I identified with the example of a palm tree in the desert given in one group session. The example showed how the palm tree had to look inward and outward for the strength to carry on and continue to grow despite the very heavy weight it was carrying. At that time, I couldn’t see how I could make it all on my own: I didn’t know anyone and I don’t speak English. After the session, I called my daughter and told her I’d been saved. Like a palm tree in the desert, I now have a family of brothers and sisters who fell from the sky like drops of rain and a WhatsApp group where we can chat in French. I can say that the Francophone Newcomer Group and CCHC have been the source of my well‑being in Canada.” N.
“From the beginning, we’ve learned a great deal in the group, particularly in the virtual sessions. We learned about many things I wasn’t familiar with before, like online banking, online shopping, phone meetings, etc. The staff showed concern for our physical and mental health during lockdown. What helped us deal with the solitude the most was being able to talk to the other group members. Everyone’s experiences were helpful, especially when we encouraged each other to do things like exercise or go for a walk. We received assistance from the Food Bank, embroidery and reading material, household appliances. For someone living in a shelter without access to a kitchen, that’s really important. I could go on, but suffice to say, I’ve found a family.” R.
“For me, being in the group has had a positive impact on my life. It’s not easy being far away from your loved ones. Because of the time difference, I can’t talk to them whenever I want. I didn’t know anyone here. I would see people but I couldn’t talk to them. In the group, I felt welcomed, and we weren’t afraid to initiate contact with each other right away. In our WhatsApp group, we can chat, share information and provide mutual support and aid. Personally, I’ve been able to help out as a volunteer at the Centre through the group. Idleness can be bad for morale. Knowing that I have somewhere to be every Wednesday, even if it’s just on the phone, makes me feel better and like I’m not alone. I also feel a sense of commitment to the other members. When a nurse came to talk to the group about COVID‑19, any unsubstantiated fears we had were abated, enabling us to be cautious without significant stress. Thanks to the group, I’ve been able to feel a sense of calm.” D.