Annual General Meeting (AGM)

Program Director Report for 2020 AGM


This yearly AGM report usually reflects the work Caring Circle has done in the previous calendar year…2019. But given the global pandemic and how precarious our health can sometimes feel, I’m sure you’ll all be interested in how we’ve been involved in dealing with issues that have arisen for Caring Circle during this health crisis.  I will include information about our activities over these past 5 months of 2020 as well as what we were up to in 2019.

Caring Circle’s primary focus is Health Navigation – helping Islanders navigate the health system so that they get timely access to the health care and social services. But one of our objectives is “to respond to the expressed needs of the Community” so we are not confined to prescribed roles in the Community but are agile in our response as needs arise. For instance, during this COVID-19 health crisis Caring Circle has been working with Jen McGowan from the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), Stef Shortt from BIM in her leadership role in creating an Advance Planning Document re health emergencies on Bowen, and with Edward Wachtman from the Neighbourhood Emergency Response Program (NERP). 

How many people have accessed our services in 2019?

Health Navigation: 309 people were given ongoing health navigation

Driver Program:  18 people were given rides into Vancouver to access health related appointments 

Lunch Program:  475+ lunches were served to Islanders at our bi-monthly lunches at the Legion. This program works in partnership with four other organizations but Caring Circle manages all of the administrative issues.

“Youth Mental Health and Substance Use” Conference:  attended by 75 Islanders – half day – guest speakers from Foundry North Shore, Executive Director of Adlerian Association, RCMP, Mother with lived experience, young adult survivor of loss from substance use and community activist.

“Voices for Health on Bowen”: This was a facilitated daylong conversation offering an opportunity for health professionals and organizations to come together, reflect on needs, and initiate small-scale collaborations on important issues. Attended by 52 Island health practitioners and ideas and collaborations were captured in a report shared with all attendees. 

Youth at Risk Fund: The Community Foundation asked to partner with Caring Circle in managing a fund to support youth at risk. Caring Circle contributed input to the Terms of Reference document and we have taken on the administrative work for this initiative. A Island psychologist has had 15 counselling sessions with various young men in their late teens and early 20’s who were experiencing anxiety and depression.

Adult Day Centre: Caring Circle partnered with the Bowen Island Respite Society to advocate to VCH to financially support an Adult Day Centre on Bowen Island. Caring Circle took the lead on this initiative initially applying for funding and meeting with VCH. The B.I. Respite Society have taken over this work and hope to open this centre soon. 

Grief and Wellness Retreat: 15 youth participated – After the tragic death of a young woman on Bowen there was palpable distress among the youth on Bowen who knew this woman. Caring Circle financially supported (through a grant from the First Credit Union) a two day Grief and Wellness Retreat.

Homelessness: The Lookout Society is working closely with Caring Circle around our Island’s issues with homelessness. In the summer of 2019 a tent “city” set up outside our offices in the Cove. Staff from the Lookout Society diffused that situation easing the issues between the homeless residents, Caring Circle, BIM and the RCMP. 

Lifelabs: decided to discontinue services when their space was being renovated. Caring Circle intervened and secured furniture, a fridge, a desk, and cleaned the space so that while the contractors were renovating the space, people could still get their blood work done.

Paramedicine Practitioner:  5-8 Islanders dropped in monthly to CC to have vital signs checked and have a health status consult with a paramedic.

“Family Play Nights”: approximately 100 attendees at two events held in 2019 at BICS gymnasium. Caring Circle partnered with a number of other groups to host this event, which connects parents with each other and with experts in child rearing and education.

Hearing screened: 20 people had their hearing and hearing aides cleaned by Next Gen Hearing organized by Caring Circle.

Early Childhood Development Table: Caring Circle sits at this table along with other groups on Island discussing and advocating for improved services for our very young Islanders age birth – age 5. 

The COVID-19 pandemic: has forced CC to work from home but that has not curtailed our outreach into the Community as I have worked at home and so much of what I do can be done by phone or email. The EOC, BIM, NERP, and the Community Foundation have worked with CC during these past few months helping Islanders who are struggling because of the pandemic to get their essential needs met, as well as reaching out to some of  the local businesses to make sure they’re also figuring out their business model in these changing times and the accompanied stress involved in solving these serious issues. It is a time when health security vulnerabilities are obvious and our role at Caring Circle is seen as critical to addressing issues as they arise.