Funding: Help your municipality become age-friendly

The BC government has just announced an additional $500,000 in age-friendly grants to municipal governments – a perfect time for Board Voice members to put forward ideas to their local governments for working with them in making our communities more welcoming for older adults.

Local governments have until Friday, Nov. 2 to submit proposals to the Union of BC Municipalities, which administers the grants. The province will also be launching a pilot in five Indigenous communities, which will be selected to partner with Indigenous and provincial health authorities for projects to support seniors.

Here’s what UBCM will be looking for when selecting projects for grants of up to $25,000 (and further opportunities to apply for additional funds). Applications should demonstrate a commitment to the following guiding principles:

  • Community Driven – Community solutions are based on local priorities and plans
  • Catalyst for Action – Community activities are catalysts that enable local governments and community partners, including health authorities, to enhance and improve services for older adults
  • Focus on Funding Priorities – Activities are focused on funding priorities with clear outcomes
  • Flexible – Required actions differ in each community
  • Coordinated – Activities of different levels of government and community partners, including health authorities, are coordinated to avoid duplication among programs and projects
  • Sustainable Results – Community activities contribute to improving the lives of older adults over time

Projects should also focus on one or more of eight community components:

  • Outdoor spaces and building
  • Transportation (including traffic safety)
  • Housing
  • Respect and social inclusion
  • Social participation
  • Communications and information
  • Civic participation and employment
  • Community support and health services

Some examples of projects that have received funding in previous years include seniors housing and transportation strategies, programs to support social connectedness and mental health, and strategies around dementia care.

Thirty-four communities throughout B.C. received age-friendly grants for 2018.  That’s almost double the grants from the year before. In 2017, the communities of Abbotsford, Keremeos, Salmo, Sicamous, Smithers and Tofino were officially recognized as age-friendly for their efforts to make their communities more accessible and inclusive for older adults.

The age-friendly communities grant program is a partnership between the province and the Union of British Columbia Municipalities. Successful applicants are eligible to apply for a range of services from BC Healthy Communities Society to support their project.