Program to increase digital literacy among older adults in the Williiams Lake area to be expanded thanks to a grant for $50,000. (Black Press Media file photo)

Program to increase digital literacy among older adults in the Williiams Lake area to be expanded thanks to a grant for $50,000. (Black Press Media file photo)

Cariboo Poverty reduction program to receive boost with $50,000 grant

Cariboo Chilcotin Partners for Literacy will lead expansion of services to assist seniors

Seniors struggling to access online services will be getting more support in the Williams Lake area thanks to a grant from the Union of British Columbia Municipalities.

The Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction has awarded the city of Williams Lake a grant for $50,000 to support the expansion of programs offered by Cariboo Chilcotin Partners for Literacy (CCPL).

This Seniors Independent Support Project aligns with a community poverty reduction plan drafted by the social planning counsel in partnership with community groups.

Digital literacy and support services are something Literacy Outreach Coordinator Carla Bullinger sees an increased need for in recent years.

“We’ve seen a significant negative impact on income security and social connections for vulnerable seniors, particularly since the pandemic,” said Bullinger, noting many services have moved online since the pandemic began.

Seniors who rely on Old Age Security benefits now likely need to access this online and many seniors were struggling to fully understand various programs, including the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

Receiving CERB caused some seniors to no longer qualify for the Guaranteed Income Supplement, which then changed their financial situation significantly.

Sorting through these kinds of challenges and helping people navigate online services is something the CCPL is already doing, but the grant will allow for the hiring of another staff member to now expand these services and the organization will be able to work in partnership with the Seniors Advocate at the Seniors Activity Centre and bring the services there.

Currently, the CCPL hosts weekly drop-in digital literacy support at their offices on Second Avenue in Williams Lake on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

“Whatever people want to work on, we are there to support that,” explained Bullinger.

She said the drop-ins for small group or one-on-one support are very popular and they see a need to help more people.

Since the grant has only just been announced, the details of how the expanded offerings will look is yet to be determined.

Read more: Seniors support provided at WEAAD event in Williams Lake



ruth.lloyd@wltribune.com

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Adult EducationPovertyPoverty reductionSeniorsWilliams Lake