Good Graces Café grant leads to expanded rural seniors programs
“The Café has become a space where seniors, our volunteers, and even our staff gather for coffee and pastries, card games, board games, and ad hoc meetings.”
The face of our community is changing. Similar to the rest of Canada, the demographic make-up of South Frontenac is one of increasing growth in the proportion of seniors.
In January 2017, thanks to a grant from the Community Foundation for Kingston & Area, our organization began a pilot project to provide a community space for seniors, especially those who feel isolated, to congregate. Each Tuesday morning we opened the doors to our historic Grace Centre as the Good Graces Café. Initially staff supported for the first 13 weeks but the Café is now completely run by a core group of volunteers. The Caféol has become a space where seniors, our vunteers, and even our staff gather for coffee and pastries, card games, board games, and ad hoc meetings.
One of the amazing results was the development of a core volunteer leadership team of local seniors. As well as running the Café, they have contributed ideas for developing the Hall into a more dynamic space for rural seniors. Their input into our application to the New Horizons for Seniors Program made that proposal stronger and more realistic, resulting in an announcement at the end of December of a grant of over $16,000. This grant will allow us to upgrade physical elements of the Hall, increase staffing to support volunteers, to develop more programs for seniors, like fitness, dance, art, films, workshops and more.
Additionally, we were empowered to respond to the Provincial call for expanding Seniors Active Living Centres to further enhance seniors programming, particularly for seniors who are more isolated. We are excitedly anticipating a positive response in the next few months.
We appreciate the support from the Foundation which has allowed us to test this Café project. The Café itself continues to be a place for seniors to socialize, as well as a source of volunteer empowerment, resulting in larger impacts on the quality of life for rural seniors – a real example of the Foundation’s “ripple” effect”.