In its three years of existence, the Comox Valley Community Health Network has partnered with various organizations undertaking projects for the betterment of the community.
It has, for instance, partnered with the CV Early Years Collaborative on initiatives to bring more childcare spaces to the Valley, which is in keeping with recommendations in a regional childcare action plan.
The network helped Children and Youth Matter with an application to the John Howard Society to bring Foundry, a model of care to address youth mental health, to the Comox Valley.
Another project in the works is affordable housing for seniors, in conjunction with Glacier View Lodge and the CV Coalition to End Homelessness.
“We have the concept report now, but there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done if that project is going to be turned into reality,” Lindsay McGinn said in a March 9 presentation to the regional district board.
The CVRD receives funding from Island Health to provide to the Health Network. A three-year agreement in place for $80,000 per year expires March 31.
As opposed to tackling projects, the network collaborates with and supports groups to address social determinants of health by way of ‘thoughtful analysis.’ Its priorities — as selected by the public at community forums — include housing, poverty reduction and seniors wellness.
“One comment we heard a lot when the network was forming was the idea that people in our community did not want to see a duplication of work or structures,” McGinn said.
Area B director Arzeena Hamir sits on the network’s coordinating circle.
“I don’t know if people realize the importance of networking and information sharing, and how the ethics and ideals of the network have supported a lot of innovation and new ways of doing things,” she said.
Analisa Blake, Island Health project manager for food security and healthy lifestyles, said the authority is pleased with the progress of the network over the last three years.
“I don’t think we could have envisioned the level of impact and reach that they’ve had,” she said. “I can’t say enough about how valuable their work has been.”
Area C director Edwin Grieve noted a lack of men involved in the network.
McGinn acknowledged that men are disproportionately feeling the effects of suicide, mental health and the overdose crisis. She said the network is looking to ensure inclusion from a variety of identities in its coordinating circle.