Cookies were available to celebrate an open house and membership drive for the North Cariboo Seniors’ Council Friday, Oct. 30 in Spirit Square in downtown Quesnel. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

Cookies were available to celebrate an open house and membership drive for the North Cariboo Seniors’ Council Friday, Oct. 30 in Spirit Square in downtown Quesnel. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

North Cariboo Seniors’ Council aims to help Quesnel seniors

Council president Brenda Gardiner said COVID-19 has “ripped off the Band-Aid” for seniors’ issues

The North Cariboo Seniors’ Council (NCSC) took to the streets Friday, Oct. 30 to rally volunteers and members.

The council was formed in the wake of an age-friendly study in 2018, which called for region-wide changes to make the area more accepting for seniors.

“We have a big sign at the end of town that says ‘retire here in Quesnel,’ and we found there were quite a few different areas of concern,” council president Brenda Gardiner said during the open house and membership drive.

After the City of Quesnel covered rent for its first year in existence, the council is working to find more sustainable funding.

“We’re up and running because of [the City], but we have to be sustainable,” Gardiner said. “If we had 1,000 people giving us $10 a year, we could afford to have our office.”

READ MORE: Quesnel council provides base funding for new North Cariboo Seniors’ Council

The NCSC is made up of doctors, seniors and other community leaders.

“We have quite a smattering of people from different areas,” said Gardiner. “We’re all getting together and doing grant writing, and we’ve been successful at it.”

One of the council’s early success stories is finding funding for a yard work grant. Gardiner said their worker visited more than 61 seniors in the community.

“You have a senior who, because of COVID-19, is stuck at home,” she said. “They can’t go to restaurants, they can’t visit their friends, so they’re sitting at home looking at their dismal yard, not able to do the work themselves.”

The membership drive isn’t just to find money for granting opportunities. The council is also looking for volunteers to help with projects.

Gardiner said the NCSC received a grant to provide 900 meals to seniors during the fall, but they only have four people volunteering to deliver them.

“That’s a lot of walking and a lot of driving for those volunteers,” she said. “If we got five more volunteers to do driving and meal delivery, bonus.”

The council’s formation in January of 2020 couldn’t have come much later, as the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the older population hard.

“This has ripped the Band-Aid off and shown people this is the real life of our seniors,” Gardiner said. “Many of them live alone and have no one checking in on them on a regular basis. Nobody.”

The NCSC office is located in Spirit Centre at 246 St. Laurent Ave. and is open Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. They can be reached by calling 250-991-0510.

READ MORE: Taking tricks again at the Quesnel Seniors’ Centre

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