Community Health Boards’ Postcard Initiative

All Nova Scotians should have access to more funded and diverse opportunities for recreation and play, without barriers (WZ Community Health Plan). “Our current situation has highlighted that recreation, inclusive of arts, culture and sport, is a vital part of all our lives” — Recreation NS and Recreation Facility Assoc. of NS.

140 or more families in Kings Co. didn’t have adequate, affordable, appropriate housing in 2016 (Census). To be safe, all Nova Scotians deserve a dignified place to call home.

We need nutritious food to be strong. “Nova Scotians must become intolerant of hunger and poverty in our province” — Feed NS.

We support Food Secure Canada’s call to address root causes of food insecurity mainly by establishing a liveable income floor and supporting Kings County residents to access local affordable healthy food.

For those of you who do not know what community health boards (CHBs) are, they are a committed group of volunteers within the community that foster partnerships with other community members to improve and promote health and wellness locally. We are not medical doctors or therapists, but we’re community volunteers with various backgrounds with the same goal in mind. CHBs advocate for actions that will help create a healthier future for our communities according to what communities say is most important.

We engage communities in discussions about the social determinants of health (safe housing, social and physical environments, income, etc.) in order to develop Collaborative Community Health Plans and advise Nova Scotia Health on local issues and priorities.

CHBs also create partnerships and collaborations and distribute Wellness Fund grants annually to local community groups and projects that complement our priorities. For example, Flying Squirrel Adventures was awarded Wellness Funds for a program that offered free outings for all ages in inspiring outdoor settings. The program included facilitated activities and free time for participants to experience nature at their own pace.

Unfortunately, because of COVID-19, the outings were cancelled before the program was completed, but the organizers pivoted quickly and were able to use Wellness Funds to distribute nature craft kits to program participants instead.

Postcard Initiative

According to the four priority areas in our Western Zone Community Health Plan, the four CHBs in Kings County, Central Kings CHB, Eastern Kings CHB, Kingston-Greenwood CHB & Western Kings CHB, have launched a postcard project highlighting food security, community connection, recreation and wellness, and housing. The goal of the postcard initiative is to help members of the community share how the priority areas are most important to them. They also provide awareness and facilitate action for the improvement of health and wellness holistically. These postcards are being mailed to local MPs and senators (postage included).

Look out for our event in the ASU building next month! Postcards will be available for those that would be interested in adding a personal message to a postcard and having it mailed.

More resources and references can be found at https://www.communityhealthboards.ns.ca/postcards.

Messages on the postcards are as follows:

  • “Being there for each other means that everyone is included.  During COVID-19, lack of reliable and affordable internet access in our rural communities has deepened existing inequities in terms of social connection, education, public health, and safety. Social connection and equity for Nova Scotians requires universal access to reliable and affordable internet.” (Message on community connection postcard)

 

  • “All Nova Scotians should have access to more funded and diverse opportunities for recreation and play, without barriers (WZ Community Health Plan). “Our current situation has highlighted that recreation, inclusive of arts, culture and sport, is a vital part of all our lives” — Recreation NS and Recreation Facility Assoc. of NS.” (Message on recreation and wellness postcard)

 

  • “140 or more families in Kings Co. didn’t have adequate, affordable, appropriate housing in 2016 (Census). To be safe, all Nova Scotians deserve a dignified place to call home.” (Message on housing postcard)

 

  • “We need nutritious food to be strong. “Nova Scotians must become intolerant of hunger and poverty in our province” — Feed NS.
    We support Food Secure Canada’s call to address root causes of food insecurity mainly by establishing a liveable income floor and supporting Kings County residents to access local affordable healthy food.” (Message on food insecurity postcard)

 

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Author: Lourdes Strachan

Lourdes is Eastern Kings County Health Board member and an Acadia University student.