We held our 2016 AGM (our second) on May 30, 2016 at Collins Hall.
Maureen Witney, Chair of Caring Circle, and Colleen O’Neil, Program Director of Caring Circle, gave presentations about what we have accomplished in the past year and where Caring Circle is going in the future. Julia McCaig provided information on the use of our website and how it is central to our services.
The Program Director’s Report gave the highlights of the services that we have provided and the lives we have touched.
The Chair’s Report followed and is summarized here:
Before I begin my report on where Caring Circle is headed, I would like to comment on the statistics that Colleen presented. These are only the tip of a very deep iceberg. For every one call or request that the statistics record (over 1,000 people called or dropped in), Colleen makes at least 10 calls and further inquiries. She not only answers the immediate need, she anticipates other needs and possibilities that will make life easier and puts in motion a full complement of support. So the statistics provide only the surface of what Caring Circle does, not the depth of the total support given.
In April 2016, the Board had a Strategic Planning session under the stimulating and creative facilitation of Andrea Verway. This Strategic Planning day was incredibly productive and clearly laid out the priorities for the Caring Circle in the next year as outlined in the resulting Caring Circle Action Plan 2016-17.
The most significant part of the process was fine tuning the Caring Circle’s Mission and Vision to succinctly capture the heart of what we stand for. We distilled the original lengthy mission and vision to their essence:
Vision: A Bowen Island community where all people feel safe, connected and healthy.
Mission: We connect individuals on Bowen Island to health services, social programs, and each other – for free.
Perhaps, the most significant part of this is that we provide our services for free. And in these times when on-going funding is not secure, we commit to our community that we will continue to do so.
We set out 5 Goals to focus on and keep us on track when we are looking at new requests and programs.
The first goal is to provide health information, education and assistance in navigating the health care system. This work is largely done through the CC Resource Centre and the CC website and directly responds to our Island’s needs. We continue to gather resources and navigation and share our growing wealth of knowledge and experience.
The second goal is to provide strong advocacy for better health and social services. Our particular focus here is to address the difficulties we have witnessed in the transition of Bowen Island residents to and from hospital. We continue discussions with Vancouver Coast Health to make them aware of the significant gaps, particularly in the hospital releasing people at all hours who have no way to get back to the Island and no support in place once they get there.
The third goal is to identify and deliver health and social programs. We are committed to developing collaborative partnerships wherever we can within the community to deliver innovative and inclusive programming such as the SKY luncheons. We will be launching what we are calling the BeFriending Program to facilitate Bowen Island residents supporting one another by having trained volunteers visit with those in our community who want more social contact and connection. Our programming responds to what the community is asking for.
Our fourth goal is certainly the most challenging – being financially stable. Though we have applied to every grant for which we are eligible, the Caring Circle has not been able to secure ongoing core funding for its programs and services. This is the same refrain of most not-for-profits. Our Program Director spends far too much time in efforts to raise money and write grant applications. This is certainly not the best use of her valuable time. But we commit to doing everything possible to keep our doors open. If more funding does not materialize, we will reach out to our Bowen community for support and ideas.
Goal 5 ensures that the Board will govern Caring Circle effectively, ethically and with heart. With that in mind, we will be seeking new Board members this year to enhance the present complement and bring unique skills and energy. We invite you to consider joining our efforts or recommending others who would like to improve the well being within our community.
Stories from the Board
Each member shared a story (anonymously) to illustrate the variety of different ways that Caring Circle impacts islanders.
Diane: described how companions/caregivers assist and support islanders and the role that Caring Circle plays in facilitating this service
Tamara: shared story of a family whom Caring Circle assisted with hiring a companion to help them care for their elderly mother while they took a much needed family vacation with their young children.
Stephen: shared his experience of how Caring Circle has impacted the lives of those patients he provides intervention to as a liaison between VCH and individual islanders.
Dean: shared a story about a fellow who was unable to access health programs and services because he had not filed a tax return. Caring Circle was able to connect Dean with this fellow and assisted him with completing and filing his tax return. This fellow was then able to access much needed services.
Julia: shared a story of an islander who’s parent was in need of mental health and psychiatry services. Caring Circle was able to educate islander on available resources.