The Woolwich Community Health Center hired rural planners to expand the range of services

The Woolwich Community Health Center found about $157,000 to hire a rural planner for a two-year period.

It is one of 41 organizations and community groups in the Waterloo area to be given upstream funding from local government—an approach the city hopes will help change “the system that distributes wealth, power and decision-making.”

The region has set aside more than $4 million for projects aimed at improving the health and well-being of Indigenous, Black, racial, and other people who face discrimination.

CBC Kitchener-Waterloo highlights the work of some of the recipients in a week-long series.

Here’s the Woolwich Community Health Center and what to expect with the extra funding:

About the organization and its impact on the community:

Woolwich Community Health Centre, based in St. Jacobs, offers primary health care services to deserving populations, such as rural and Mennonite communities, as well as the wider community.

Some of the services include: Health education, community outreach programs focusing on the social determinants of health, nutrition education for young children and the elderly, diabetes education and physiotherapy services.

Rosslyn Bentley, the center’s executive director, said they had seen an increase in need over the last few years of the pandemic.

“Because of just general population growth, both the aging population but also the movement into society, new Canadians coming from overseas, people traveling and coming to the Waterloo area, we’re finding more and more people who don’t have a regular family doctor, he said.

How regional funding will help organizations:

Bentley said its plan is to partner with seven other organizations including North Dumfries, Wilmot and Wellesley to hire a rural planner.

The role will connect with hard-to-reach communities to ensure their perspectives are reflected in programming, and make changes to ensure accessibility.

“What we want to do is really listen to communities that are generally under-represented in the typical methods we use to find out what the community’s needs are in terms of health and social services. So we talk about Indigenous communities, low income communities, LGBTQ+ communities,” he said.

He hopes this will help identify gaps in current services and seek solutions.

Dates to remember:

Bentley says his focus right now is on playing the rural planner role. Meanwhile, there are more services and events planned for people to view online.