People and organizations in communities across the Island Health region will benefit from almost $1.2 million awarded through 29 resilience and safety grants.
“As the Toxic Drug Crisis continues into its 7th year, finding new ways of understanding the issues and developing responses to foster wellness, resilience, and reduce the risk of drug poisoning and death is crucial,” said Keva Glynn, Executive Lead, Mental Health and Substance Use Strategy. “The resilience and safety grants provide the opportunity for new partnerships and initiatives focused on activities that promote prevention and reduce harms for those most at risk, and building resilience within the youth in our communities. It was exciting to see the ideas come forward from our communities, the collaborative partnerships established, and the passion demonstrated.”
The three key areas of focus for these grants are:
• Promoting youth resilience
• Businesses leading the way to a strong and healthy workforce
• New ways to reach people who use illicit drugs alone
The new resilience and safety grant program was developed to provide Island Health the opportunity to partner with Indigenous and non-Indigenous community organizations to launch new and innovative initiatives aimed at improving youth resilience, workplace wellness, and individual safety related to the toxic drug crisis. Island Health issued a call for expressions of interest on January 3, which was followed by a detailed application process for short-listed applicants in February.
“Families and communities throughout Vancouver Island and B.C. continue to feel the devastating impact of the toxic drug crisis,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Front-line and community workers are making a huge difference as our government continues to tackle this crisis from all angles. Thank you to the grant recipients for leading this critical work and for helping create new solutions to this evolving crisis.”
Eleven grants have been awarded to, or are partnered with, Indigenous communities and organizations, with all three First Nation cultural families, the Coast Salish, Nuu-chah-nulth and Kwakwaka’wakw represented. Eighteen more grants have been awarded to other organizations in communities across the Island Health region.
“Empowering and enabling the communities we serve to work in collaboration with us to address these important issues at a grassroots level is critically important,” said James Hanson, Vice President, Clinical Services, Acute Care North and Community Services. “I am so excited to see how the programs and initiatives supported by these grants will benefit people throughout the Island Health region.”
“The pandemic and our response to it resulted in a substantial negative effect on children and youth, which left unaddressed can have significant consequences for long-term health. These resilience and safety grants are a recognition of how important programs and supports that provide positive experiences during childhood and adolescence are for youth to develop resilience, prevent harmful substance use and have the skills to face challenges throughout life,” said Dr. Reka Gustafson, Vice President Population and Public Health and Chief Medical Health Officer.
Learn more about the full list of grant recipients on the resiliency and safety grants page.