By John DeCoste
The New Minas-based Evangeline Recreation Society (ERS) – also known as the Evangeline Club – is among seven provincial organizations benefitting from more than $146,000 in funding from the provincial Department of Health and Wellness.
Kings North MLA Jim Morton, on behalf of Health Minister Dave Wilson, made the funding announcement Nov. 5 at the society’s headquarters. The Evangeline Club’s share of the total is $16,000.
Consumer-led Initiative Grants, Morton pointed out, are made available to community groups addressing mental illness, with the goal of helping them establish and run programs in their communities.
“Getting people involved in their community is a vital part of a person’s recovery from mental illness,” Morton said. “These grants give people living with mental illness the financial help and support they need to make a difference, in their lives and in the lives of others facing the same challenges.”
Evangeline Club coordinator Candy O’Brien said the funding announcement represented the second half of a provincial grant to the society.
O’Brien said the funding was already being put to good use by the society’s Consumer Action Network (CAN), “a non-profit program within the Evangeline Club that coordinates the jobs we give to people.”
So far, she said, “we’ve purchased a van and trailer” for the use of the society’s clients and visitors.
“We also provide interest-free loans to help people with expenses like transportation and food, which they can pay back by working at the club.”
The funding will also help provide salaries for a housekeeper, kitchen and meal coordinator, ‘care connection’ coordinator, lawn care person and garden coordinator, all of whom do their jobs “with the help of club members.”
“It helps bring us all together as a family,” she said.
Morton, in his remarks, said he was quite familiar with the society, “and with the projects you’re doing here, including your garden project.
“This, “ he suggested, “is a place where fellowship occurs, and it’s also a community that keeps people together.”
Regardless of our social and intellectual circumstances, he said, “we’re always at greater risk when we’re alone.”
Hopefully, Morton said, the funding “will help implement programs that are making, and will continue to make, a difference for people living with mental illness.”
Other initiatives included in the $146,000 funding commitment are in Halifax, Dartmouth and the Municipality of Clare