The North Shore Area Community Health Board recently awarded eight Wellness Fund grants to organizations offering wellness projects to local residents. From left, Ann Pritchard-Thornhill, a board member; Barbie Cook, receiving on behalf of the North Shore Recreation Centre for its Borrow a Gym Pass project; and Courtney Nicholson-Patriquin, the chairperson of the local board. Submitted photo

The North Shore Area Community Health Board (CHB) recently hosted its annual Wellness Fund celebration in support of projects that help keep our communities healthy, develop community leadership, and build partnerships for health and wellness.

In her introductory remarks Courtney Nicholson-Patriquin, the chair of the CHB, said “We are all striving for healthy lives and this year we are awarding funds to eight local non-profit organizations that are working to improve health and wellness in their communities.”

The River John Ladies Group was one of the funding recipients. They administer the Meals on Wheels program that delivers hot meals to seniors in and around River John.  Every Monday from October to March, Sandra Patriquin prepares, from scratch, 34 home-cooked meals with dessert.

Joanne Wilkins packs the meals as well as coordinating the 10 volunteer drivers who deliver the dinners to the seniors. This program, which has been in existence for 13 years, is expanding.

“We are cooking 12 more dinners this year and we hope to reach nine more seniors in the future,” Patriquin said. This year they were presented with a cheque for $1,812 to help them reach their goals.

The North Shore Recreation Centre received a $500 award for a creative plan to get more people exercising. The money will provide two gym passes that can be borrowed, free of charge, for two weeks at a time from the Tatamagouche branch of the Colchester East Hants Public Library. Barbie Cook, who was representing the rec centre, explained that, “This initiative will be a good way to introduce people to what’s available at the gym and give them an opportunity to see if gym workouts are for them.”

With their grant, the Tatamagouche library will soon be lending fishing rods, seasonal affective disorder lamps, a mini-keyboard, ukuleles, and a West African drum known as a Djembe.

Thanks to funds provided by the CHB, young hockey players will now have the opportunity to learn leadership and coaching skills while giving back to the Tatamagouche Minor Hockey Association. They will achieve this by coaching novice players.

Generous monetary assistance was also given to Eating Disorders Nova Scotia, the Nova Scotia Breast Cancer Retreat, the Truro chapter of Autism Nova Scotia, and the Writing on Fire Association.

Tony Matheson, a physical education teacher at Tatamagouche Regional Academy, reported on the disc golf course he was able to build and equip with the grant he was given last year. He constructed three very popular par 3 fairways in partnership with the school and the North Shore Recreation Centre. His vision is to develop the wooded area behind the school.

“I would love to see a multipurpose trail there with pathways through the woods that could be used for Frisbee golf, orienteering and hiking,” he said.

Each year, with the deadline typically being Oct. 15, the Community Health Board puts out a call for applications for wellness funds. Lynn Langille, the CHB coordinator, pointed out that applicants should consider how they promote and enhance mental wellness and healthy active living in thriving communities that foster inclusiveness.

“We are always looking for volunteers to serve on the board,” she said.

For more information, contact Lynn Langille at lynn.langille2@nshealth.ca or 902-324-0621.