Betty Brown, Interior Health Community Health Facilitator, met with approximately 16 residents of the Lower Similkameen who were interested in creating a healthier village.
Brown addressed the group at Victory Hall on Friday, January 10, for a short presentation and a series of group exercises focussing on ideas and methods for creating a healthier community.
Brown said that she was impressed by the diversity in the room after introductions were made. She appreciated the gatherings’ make up of seniors, local politicians, community service groups and Lower Similkameen Indian Band representation.
Brown’s presentation took place in conjunction with Interior Health’s Okanagan Similkameen Healthy Living Coalition, a community-driven umbrella organization designed to bring together the regional district and the village in order to design and implement innovative programs for healthy living with a focus on children, youth and vulnerable populations.
Keremeos and the Regional District Okanagan Similkameen agreed to partner with Interior Health in the initiative last March, and since then, Brown said, “small pots of money can be made available to Keremeos” in order to fund intiatives to improve residents health.
“Last year, $1,500 was granted to help spawn the community group largely represented by you today,” said Brown.
Part of the Healthy Communities initiative involves a Healthy Communities scan, which is a tool designed to help communities identify “healthy” assets in the community. Brown said that communities completing the scan will have preference when it comes to accessing certain grant funding.
Keremeos can benefit from a number of $5,000 grants, as well as two $20,000 grants that will be made available in May. Communities from Williams Lake to Cranbrook are all eligible for the two large grants, and all communities will have an equal opportunity to apply. The funds will help fund community and valley wide initiatives, which will launch later this year.
After Brown’s presentation, those present conducted a number of thought provoking exercises, including a visioning exercise that required participants to describe what a healthier Keremeos would look like to them in three years.