Island Health announces Community Wellness Grant Recipients

ISLAND WIDE – Healthy living and community well-being will be supported by 45 projects across Island Health, thanks to Island Health’s Community Wellness Granting Program.

The program, now in its second year, helps foster local partnerships to address the population’s health and wellness. Highlights include a First Nations language and culture initiative in Port Hardy; a food safety and cooking program for youth in Port Alberni; a Cowichan Valley sports program that  develops skills and confidence for children; and a project that will enhance social connections and support for Saanich’s most vulnerable residents by focusing on nutrition. Grants are also supporting Bike to Work and School programs in the fall at five communities across Vancouver Island.

Nearly $550,000 from the Community Wellness Granting Program will fund a mix of individual program and partnership grants (partnership grants support projects that involve at least three organizations). The balance of the grant funding, about $250,000, will be allocated over the next several months to additional partnership grant projects that will collaborate with leadership teams in each of Island Health’s four geographic areas.

“Our community connections are vital – together, we truly are stronger,” says Kathy MacNeil, Island Health’s President and CEO. “We’re pleased to support many diverse partnerships through the Community Wellness Granting Program, and excited by the innovative projects that will benefit the health of our population.”

Island Health recognizes the importance of reducing future reliance on the health system and promoting healthy lifestyles at the grassroots level. Community Wellness Grants provide the opportunity for Island Health to work with community partners, positively influence health outcomes and make healthy choices easier. 

The first round of the Community Wellness Granting Program began in 2017. One of the recipients was Nanaimo Foodshare, which used its funding to launch the Seniors Food Legacy Project with other partner organizations. The project focused on food-related issues and support for seniors living independently in the Nanaimo area.

“The grant was critical – without it, we wouldn’t have been able to move our initiative forward,” says Jen Cody, Executive Director of Nanaimo Foodshare. “The project is having a significant impact by connecting seniors, increasing their access to healthy food and enhancing the community’s capacity to address the challenges seniors face in eating healthy, based on their shared experiences.”

In December 2017, Island Health issued a call for applications to local governments, community organizations and Indigenous communities. Grant application criteria included healthy aging, positive mental health, social and family connectedness, healthy eating and physical activity.

A complete list of grant recipients is available on Island Health’s website at 

Island Health provides health care and support services to more than 767,000 people on Vancouver Island, the islands in the Salish Sea and the Johnstone Strait, and mainland communities north of Powell River. 

Media Inquiries:

Meribeth Burton