Woolwich Community Health Center to hire rural planners to expand scope of services

Woolwich Community Health Center to hire rural planners to expand scope of services

The Woolwich Community Health Center is getting about $157,000 to hire a rural planner for a two-year period.

It’s one of 41 community organizations and groups in the Waterloo region that were provided upstream funding from the regional government — an approach the municipality hopes will help change “systems that distribute wealth, power, and decision-making.”

The region set aside more than $4 million for the project aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of Indigenous, Black, racialized and other communities facing discrimination.

CBC Kitchener-Waterloo is highlighting the work of several of the recipients in a week-long series.

Here’s what The Woolwich Community Health Center is about and what it hopes to do with the additional funding:

About the organization and impact on community:

The Woolwich Community Health Centre, based in St. Jacobs, offers primary health care services to equity-deserving populations, such as rural and Mennonite communities, as well as the broader community.

Some of the services include: Health education, community outreach programming focused on the social determinants of health, nutritional education for young children and parents, diabetes education and physiotherapy services.

Rosslyn Bentley, the executive director of the health center, said they’ve seen the need increase over the past few pandemic years.

“Because of just general population growth, both the aging population but also movement into the community, new Canadians arriving from overseas, people commuting and coming to the Waterloo region, we are finding there are more and more people who don’t have a regular family physician,” she said.

How regional funding will help the organization:

Bentley said the plan was to partner with seven other organizations including those in North Dumfries, Wilmot and Wellesley to hire a rural planner.

The role would connect with hard-to-reach communities to make sure their perspectives are reflected in the programming, and make changes to ensure accessibility.

“What we want to do is really listen to the communities that are generally not as well represented in the typical methods that we use to find out what the needs of the community are with regard to health and social services. So we’re talking about the Indigenous community, the low income community, the LGBTQ+ community,” she said.

She hopes this will help identify gaps in current services and work toward solutions.

Dates to remember:

Bentley said the focus right now is on getting the rural planner role underway. Meanwhile, there are more services and events planned that people can check out online.