Rimbey community agencies continue to serve the public amidst funding cuts, pandemic concerns

‘Basically, we are trying to fill in some of these gaps, which Neighbourhood Place has always done’

  • Apr. 16, 2020 2:20 p.m.

Community resources that service Rimbey and area residents have seen some changes of late, but efforts are being made to continue to connect with local families.

“For Neighbourhood Place, we just learned on April 10th that the expression of interest we put in with Children’s Services for the Family Resource Network was not successful,” said Leanne Evans, manager of Rimbey Neighbourhood Place.

“It’s disappointing. That was going to cover Parent Link in both Rimbey and Ponoka and the Home Visitation Program that was here in Rimbey as well,” she said.

Neighbourhood Place is also the umbrella organization for the Rimbey and Area Community Wellness Association.

“The Association also operates in partnership with Neighbourhood Place because we offer support to them,” explained Evans. “Also, the Early Childhood Coalition was also under the Neighbourhood Place umbrella.”

Evans said that although the Early Childhood Coalition had lost funding as well, earlier fundraisers have helped ensure that online connections can continue for those who have utilized the Parent Link program, too.

Basically what they have done is to turn the Parent Link web site into a general site to help support families.

Meanwhile, as Evans pointed out, Neighbourhood Place is still in operation with funding sources expected to last through the end of the year at this point.

“Basically, we are trying to fill in some of these gaps, which Neighbourhood Place has always done,” she said, adding that Neighbourhood Place has been running in Rimbey for 20 years now. “When people don’t know where to go, they come to Neighbourhood Place – it’s kind of like a one-stop shop.

“Then, we can refer them to whichever organization they need,” she said. “We will be (eventually) be looking for funding as well, but in the interim we are just trying to support people as best we can.

“We also facilitate other groups. We do an inter-agency group, bringing together all the service agencies in Rimbey and the surrounding area for a meeting every other month.

“It’s like a roundtable where everyone talks about what they offer and the challenges they are facing. Everyone can then brainstorm and help come up with solutions – it’s a networking type of collaboration.”

In the meantime, she also provided an update on where other community services are at these days.

With the ongoing pandemic, it can be confusing for residents to know what is still operating, or to what measure they are operating.

– Catholic Social Services is continuing to offer counselling services. “During these unprecedented times, our counselling services in Rimbey and area remain available to support those in need. Individual, couple and family counselling can now be accessed through telephone or video conferencing services. To discuss counselling services for individuals needing general counselling or support related to COVID-19, residents are asked to call the Red Deer office at 403-347-8844 or to check out css.alberta.ca for more information.

– FCSS also continues to be operational but by appointment. “There is someone there to answer the phone during work hours for information and referral.”

– As for AHS Mental Health, they are currently going day by day – doing as much over the phone as possible.

– School social workers are still working and trying to support families if possible. “They also indicated that if you need immediate help, contact the Mental Health Help-Line at 1-877-033-2642 or Kids Help Line at 1-800-668-6868.”

– The local library is closed to the public, they are still very much providing library service to the community. “We have also been busy making activity kits so that children will have something qualitative to do that does not involve computers and screen time. Those kits can also be ordered through our web page. We are continually adding subjects to our selection. We are only able to loan these through curbside pick-up or deliver in town if you and other members of your family are in isolation.”

Residents can also still request books – they will either be mailed or provided via curbside delivery.

– Victim Services is still taking referrals. All contact is done via telephone and the detachment is closed to the public.

– PCN (Primary Care Network) therapists are still working although they are doing appointments by phone.

– Ponoka & Rimbey Adult Learning is also working from home. Right now they have the Quarantiner’s Book Club that is a Facebook Live video read twice a week on the Ponoka Learning Centre Facebook page and in the very near future, they will have a registered drop-in program to help adults brush up on the basics so they can help their children with schoolwork at home.

· The Alberta Health Services Early Intervention Program continues to work with families of infants and children with developmental delays or disabilities from birth to entering preschool. This program supports families who may benefit from additional support. It is a free, voluntary and flexible to accommodate different goals, priorities and choices of individual families. This is a home visitation program that at this time is working via telephone, Skype and zoom. The Early Intervention Program (EIP) can be reached through the local Community Health Center or at 780-514-7237.

· The Immigrant Centre (CARE and CSS) is currently closed and staff are not meeting clients in-person but they continue to support newcomers as best they can remotely.

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