Wellness grants helping Islanders to live healthy
Thirteen Prince Edward Island community groups have received provincial government funding this year for projects that promote wellness and healthy living.
The annual Wellness Grant program provides $50,000 to support community-led wellness initiatives that address pillars of government’s Wellness Strategy, such as:
- living tobacco free;
- being physically active and reducing sedentary time;
- healthy eating;
- consuming alcohol responsibly; and
- mental health promotion.
“This program is a chance for us to collaborate with community partners to positively influence individual and community well-being,” Health and Wellness Minister Robert Mitchell said. “We are seeing excellent programs and wonderful initiatives happen all across the province through the support of our Wellness Grants.”
One of the thirteen community groups to receive funding for 2018/19 is the PEI Reach Foundation.
“We are extremely appreciative of this grant," said Chris Craig, Youth Services Community Liaison PEI Reach Foundation. "The wellness grant has allowed us to implement a fitness and nutrition component to our programming which gives the youth confidence to make healthy food choices and develop consistent exercise routines.”
“Achieving goals for wellness requires broad collaboration both within and outside the health sector including all levels of government, community partners and the public. Ultimately these 13 projects are supporting community-based efforts to positively influence health outcomes of Islanders,” Minister Mitchell said.
More than 60 projects have received Wellness Grant funding since the program launched in January 2015. For more information, visit the Wellness Grant Program.
Health and Wellness
A panel adjudicated over 40 applications. Projects were reviewed based on community engagement with a focus on primary prevention in relation to the five pillars of the Wellness Strategy, the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion Strategies, and the use of “upstream” approaches.
Criteria used in the project selection included innovation, sustainability, chronic disease prevention, and promotion of wellness and healthy living.
The 2018/19 wellness grant recipients and projects are as follows:
Women's Network PEI, Inc.
Girls At Bat is baseball program designed for girls. The free after school program aims to make playing baseball fun and safe for those who typically don't have the courage or opportunity to get involved in team sports. By combining fun, with team-building exercises and healthy activities, Girls At Bat empowers girls with confidence, self-esteem and leadership skills to succeed on and off the field. Girls at Bat increases connections amongst youth and also helps to build physical literacy skills amongst girls.
PEI Home and School Federation
Youth School Food Think Tanks: The Public Schools Branch is in the process of developing a School Food Integrated Strategy. The strategy will create healthy school food environments that support student access to healthy, local foods. Student engagement is a core component of this initiative. Through funding from the Wellness Grant, three youth events will be held to better understand student values and visions for school food. The themes that shape these events will be elicited from youth via a Photovoice project. Participants will have the opportunity to think critically about their school food environments, share their vision for school food, and provide feedback on the strategy.
Heart and Stroke Foundation
The Vending and Food Service Audit in Recreation Settings project will be an audit of food and beverage offerings in vending machines and food services (i.e. canteens) within recreation settings across PEI. A report will be created, by the Heart and Stroke Foundation, based on the information collected. The report will highlight the current environment of food services in recreation settings on the Island and include best practices and policy templates.
Supporting Food Selection and Meal Preparation for People with Mild to Moderate Intellectual Disabilities: Participants with intellectual disabilities will participate in the development of video capture related to recipe development, taste palatability, food purchasing and meal preparation. This video capture will then be made available online which will support healthy eating choices through development of meal and snack selection and preparation skills for this population.
Canadian Cancer Society, PEI
Cooking to Quit will include two four-week sessions offered to individuals who want to quit smoking, or have just recently quit. In a supportive environment, participants will gain new knowledge and skills to combat the concern of weight gain after quitting. Sessions will include a cooking class to support healthy food choices and a walking group to promote healthy behaviours and coping strategies.
Mount Stewart Consolidated School
Passion Projects for Students: Connecting locally for mental health, physical health and healthy eating is a multi-faceted initiative teaching grade 7/8 students lifelong skills for healthy living. School days include dedicated time for physical activity and the opportunity for students to pursue their interests via "passion projects" integrated into the health curriculum. Outside field trips, including ongoing partnerships and visits with a local farmer and artist, will encourage skill development and build school-community connections.
Inclusions East Inc.
An online video campaign to include production and social media distribution of a series of short videos to promote the stories of clients and employers who participate in the organization's Supported Employment program. Experiences of persons with intellectual disabilities in employment settings, along with interviews from their coworkers, managers, and caregivers will inform the videos. The aim of the campaign is to remove barriers to employment for persons with intellectual disabilities.
Canadian Mental Health Association
Mental Health Kits will be made available at public libraries across the province for all Islanders. Kits will contain books, DVDs, and other resources related to mental health that can be signed out at each branch library. The goal is to increase access to mental health and wellness resources and to provide a safe space to support individuals and families.
Native Council of PEI
Mind, Body & Spirit: Healing Through the Medicine Wheel - NCPEI will provide training in medicine wheel teachings to community members and mental health service providers in order to help them identify and support prospective clients with mental health issues and trauma. The goal of the project is twofold: (1) to educate community members to become peer supports for mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health using a traditional, holistic method of healing through the medicine wheel and traditional ceremonies and (2) to provide mental health care providers working with the Indigenous population with training in traditional healing practices in order to provide more culturally relevant services.
Belfast Consolidated School, St. Michael's Parish and St. John's Presbyterian Church
Belfast Consolidated School Wellness Project - Monthly 'wellness sessions' will be held for families and community members in the Belfast area to learn more about various health topics (e.g., mental wellness, bullying, smoking cessation, etc.). Healthy snacks and physical activity demonstrations (e.g., trying yoga or pickleball) will be incorporated into the session.
Abegweit Mi'kmaq Wellness Centre
Abegweit Wellness Centre's Cooking Classes - Abegweit Wellness Centre staff, community members, and elders will receive training on cooking with slow-cookers using "Slow Cooked Dreams." Trained staff will then lead bi-weekly cooking classes to community members of Abegweit First Nation. The goal is to provide families with the skills to shop for and prepare healthy meals at a lower-cost and use produce from local community gardens. With produce being harvested from the local Epekwitk Gardens, this will provide an understanding of the link between growing produce and meal preparation and increase access to community gardens. The use of slow-cookers offers an opportunity for families to prepare healthier meals using less time and at lower costs.
Prince Edward Island Reach Foundation
Reaching for a Stronger You: This project integrates physical health, nutrition literacy, food safety, and meal planning to improve healthy living skills of persons overcoming mental health and/or addiction issues. The project aims to increase healthy behaviors while individuals are transitioning back into the workforce or school, by helping them gain confidence and essential employability skills.
Royal Star Foods Ltd
Royal Star Foods Wellness Plan 2018-2019: This project involves developing a workplace wellness initiative for the Royal Star Foods management and employees. A workplace wellness committee will conduct a needs assessment of employee priorities around wellness topics and the program format. Program activities may include information sessions, training, and activities relating to chronic disease prevention, healthy eating, physical activity, mental health, and stress management. The goal of this project is to create a work environment that supports the physical and mental health of its employees.