Administrator Brandi McLauchlan recently addressed Summerland Town Council on behalf of NeighbourLink Summerland. (Scroll down for a list of coming events.)
NeighbourLink began our humble operations in Summerland in 2003 – that means it’s our 20th anniversary this year! We are thankful to be one of the organizations that has invested in the health of Summerland!
You may have heard of NeighbourLink before but you may not know all that we do. This could be because we are a small organization and sometimes, we are so busy that we forget to “toot our own horn” so to speak. But don’t let our size fool you: we are mighty in deeds thanks to some of the best volunteers around.
For 20 years, NeighbourLink has built and nurtured partnerships with local churches and collaborated with groups and businesses to create impactful solutions for our community’s needs. We create opportunities for volunteerism, which is simply another term for “love in action.”
NeighbourLink offers a resource hub through our office operations. Calls and requests come in and are either delegated to a volunteer to fulfill the request or it’s directed to another group or organization better suited to fulfill the need.
Though our mandate is to serve the residents of Summerland, our largest demographic of clients is seniors, many of them are low-income on a very tight budget.
A core NeighbourLink service is driving seniors to their medical, dental, and specialist appointments.
Our vetted volunteers go through a stringent initiation process including a criminal record check, application, and interview to ensure our clients receive the high-quality support they deserve. Our office will follow up on the services performed to ensure needs and expectations have been met.
These rides to appointments are so much more than kilometers driven on a road: it is a personalized pick-up and drop-off service customized to what the client needs:
- It is physical and emotional support while they navigate health challenges,
- It is social interaction during the drive which helps to reduce loneliness, isolation, stress, anxiety and depression and often these interactions over the course of repeated drives leads to special bonds of friendship,
- Many of our volunteers are retired health-care workers and can encourage our clients to follow-up or pursue certain types of care to maintain their wellbeing. This often results in our clients being able to retain their independence and stay in their homes longer.
- As you can see, the ripple effects from a ride can be far-reaching!
- We have a monthly lunch at the Community Centre,
- Our PRIME Program (which stands for Personal Records In Medical Emergency) is a simple communication tool by which first responders can have access to essential medical information when someone is in distress – this Program received a letter of support from the District a few years ago,
- We have a visitation program for the lonely and isolated,
- Our Christmas Senior Gift Bag Program provides gift bags of practical items and yummy treats to our isolated seniors. Here are a couple of quotes from gift bag recipients from last year:
“I have been depressed recently and not feeling well. I received a holiday gift bag from NeighbourLink which was so kind and cheerful and it helped to lift my spirits, I can’t thank you enough”
“I will be all alone for the holidays this year. I’m afraid that no one will remember me. I just received a Christmas gift bag but I won’t be opening it until Christmas morning because it will be the only gift I receive and I want to savour it. Thank you for the gift bag and for being the one that remembers me.”
NeighbourLink has many other programs and services beyond the rides:
All of NeighbourLink’s programs and services are free and always will be. Through community generosity of grants and donations, we are able to remove all financial barriers for those who need help.
By supporting Summerlanders in times of need, we contribute to building community resilience, greater social capital, and stronger community ties, which makes Summerland an amazing place to call home.
May 23-25 – our annual online silent auction fundraiser. This is one of our big fundraisers for the year and we have some excellent donations generously provided by our community to auction off! The bidding opens on Tuesday morning May 23 at 9 am, and closes on Thursday evening at 8 pm. It’s a lot of fun and you may just get into a friendly bidding war 🙂 Here is the link to the auction site, then you can click “Silent Auction” in the top right corner to view the items up for bid (more will be added by early next week): https://trellis.org/neighbourlink-week-2023
Sunday, May 28 – Our 1st Annual Family Picnic takes place at Memorial Park, from 11 am to 1 pm. Come and join us after church — bring your lunch, a beverage, and a lawn chair or blanket. Kyle Anderson will be providing entertainment. The Horseshoe Club will be providing lessons. There’s a nearby park for the kids. Some local service groups will attend to share the good works of their operations. And there will be cupcakes! I’ve attached our poster for easy reference to the details.
Next week is NeighbourLink Week and you will likely see our large yellow banner displayed over the skate park. We have much to celebrate this year, as it’s our 20th anniversary of operations in Summerland!
Brandi McLauchlan, Administrator
Neighbourlink rocks!! Great volunteers and a great organization! Takes being a great neighbour to a whole new level! Congratulations on your 20th Anniversary!
Thanks for sharing Brandi’s presentation, Ken. She did such a good job and the Council seemed interested.