Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB)

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1 Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) Agency Name and Contact Information Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB): The mission of CNIB is to enhance independence for Canadians who are blind or partially sighted and to be the leader in promoting vision health. Betty Leeson (Regional Manager- Service and Operations); CNIB; London Ext: 5102 CC: Colleen McGrath (Grant Writer) CNIB; Hamilton (905) Ext: 5335 Implementation Year 2014 Proposed Funded Activity Objective Description London Senior Peer Support Program The overarching goal of the peer support program is to reduce rates of depression and increase the social participation of seniors in London who are blind or partially sighted. This goal will be achieved through the re-training, recruitment, and training of a total of 6 senior volunteer facilitators in London to implement a new peer support program to meet the growing demand for peer support for seniors who are blind or partially sighted. The senior volunteer facilitators will consist of existing volunteers as well as new volunteers. Over a one year period, three peer support programs will be offered in London. This senior-led peer support program will use updated materials intended to help reduce the social isolation of seniors who are blind or partially sighted by providing a social outlet for the development of new friendships, sharing and exploring of feelings, and encourage the development of new skills that can enhance their active social participation and involvement in their communities. The funds requested through the City of London will go specifically to funding a Volunteer Coordinator position at 2 days/week as well as helping to offset travel, administrative, and meeting-related costs. This volunteer coordinator will be an integral part of the peer support team by recruiting participants, planning the training sessions with the senior facilitators, establishing the peer support group schedule, and securing a meeting location. A total of 6 senior volunteer facilitators will be recruited to provide the newly adapted peer support program. Volunteers will be trained by existing peer support leaders. They will receive training on the guidelines for each of the peer support sessions as well as communication strategies to employ in group. The program will run once a week for 8 weeks. Each session is 2 hours in length. The program will run 3 times per year in London. The groups will have no less than 3-4 participants in each group with a projected enrollment of 8-10 older adults. Senior facilitators will be responsible for running all aspects of the peer support groups. It is estimated that approximately 30 older adults will participate in the peer support program with 6 senior volunteer facilitators to run the groups. The peer support program will also include the services of the volunteer coordinator (1), service staff who will each present at one of the peer support sessions (3), and administrative staff (2) who will assist with intake and referrals to the program. 1

2 Budget Implications Year Total Budget Request Operating Budget: One time only 2014 $19,140 Ongoing annual Capital Budget: One time only Future years Please attach a copy of your detailed budget submission supporting your funding request above. Detail expenditures separately: City of London funding request versus other revenue sources. In addition to the City of London funding request, a proposal has been submitted through the New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) for $25,000 to support the Senior Peer Support Program in London, ON. Identify the additional dollars the City of London funding will leverage in the community? Older adults represent a key demographic within London. In fact, according to a report published by the Social Research and Planning City of London, Department of Community Services (2005), the cumulative percentage of individuals over the age of 55 represents 21% of Londoners. Through participation in the peer support program, it is expected that older adults who are blind or partially sighted will developed increased confidence which will positively impact rates of depression as well as increase social participation. With an expected outcome of increased social participation, the city of London can expect a greater degree of social, political, and economic contributions from those blind and partially sighted older adults who may have otherwise experienced debilitating social isolation. Will the City of London funding as a percentage of the total budget for your organization decline in the future? If yes, please explain. The City of London funding will act as a percentage of the total funding required to operate the senior peer support program. A New Horizons funding application has been submitted for $25,000 to support running the peer support program in London, ON. The proposal to the City of London is to support a Volunteer Coordinator position at 2 days/week in order to organize the peer support program as well as to support the senior volunteers who will be responsible for carrying out program activities. Funding from the City of London would help to leverage additional funding requests in the future which could result in a decline in the amount of City of London funding required. In the absence of alternate funding sources, ongoing financial support from the City of London would assist in the continued offering of the peer support program for older adults who are blind or partially sighted. Please describe your sustainability plan for your City of London funding request. Less than 35 per cent of CNIB s total funding comes from government sources, so we rely on donations to continue to be there for all those who need our services. Funding provided through the City of London will help to leverage additional funding in the future. Through the obtainment of alternative funding sources, the senior peer support program could be sustained in the absence of City of London funding. How does this Funding Request Contribute to the City of London Strategic Plan Results? 2

3 Identify Result Rationale 1. A vibrant and diverse community The City of London Strategic Plan advocates for the respecting and valuing of persons of all abilities in order to support a happy, diverse and vibrant population. CNIB is working towards the social inclusion of persons who are blind or partially sighted within the London community. Through provision of funds to support a senior peer support program, the program seeks to reduce the social isolation of seniors who are blind or partially sighted by providing a social outlet for the development of new friendships, sharing and exploring of feelings, and encourage the development of new skills that can enhance their active social participation and involvement in their communities. 2. A caring community The City of London Strategic Plan calls for the increased health and wellbeing of London residents as well as the provision of effective and timely health care services. The peer support program supports those same principles. One of the main purposes of the senior peer support program is to reduce the risk of depression and isolation among seniors with vision loss and to teach the participants that there is life after vision loss. Through provision of emotional support and practical reassurance, participants are taught that they are not alone in their experience of vision loss. How will this Funding Request Impact the City of London? How will this initiative add value for the City of London What is the target population and how is the need identified (describe)? This initiative will add value to the city of London by providing London s growing number of older adult residents, who are living with vision loss, with a peer support program designed to reduce experiences of depression and reduce the risks of social isolation. Older adults (aged 65+) who reside within London will be the target population for this senior peer support program. More than one million Canadians are presently living with blindness or partial sight with more than 432,000 persons over the age of 65 years (or 1 in 11 Canadians). Moreover, the four most common eye diseases causing blindness or partial sight in Canada are age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and cataracts (all of which affect older adults). Given these current numbers, and the projected increases for the future, a senior peer support program is both timely and necessary. The senior participants of the peer support program will benefit from having the opportunity to socialize with others who are experiencing vision loss. The participants will have an opportunity to learn more about their eye condition, explore their feelings associated with vision loss, and share practical strategies to support the daily challenges they are experiencing both in the home and in the community. Through participation in the peer support program, it is anticipated that experiences of depression and the risk of social isolation will 3

4 be reduced significantly. How is this initiative unique? A unique feature of this initiative is that the program is run by senior facilitators, with the assistance of the Volunteer Coordinator as needed. The senior peer support program is dependent on the participation of senior volunteers who have adjusted well to their own vision loss and wish to give back to their community by sharing their knowledge and experience of vision loss with seniors who may have just recently lost their vision. The groups will be run entirely by the senior volunteer facilitators, with support and assistance provided by the Volunteer Coordinator only as requested by the facilitators. Will this increase, decrease or maintain the Funding provided by the City of London will increase the level of level of service you are currently providing? services currently provided. Although peer support has been previously available within CNIB, it has been over 1 year since the peer support program was last run in London resulting in a current waiting list of 264 seniors in the region. Without funding, the peer support program will not run. What are the Potential Risks of Not Implementing this Initiative? Although peer support has been previously available within the CNIB, it has been over 1 year since the peer support program was last run in London. Without the requested funds, the peer support program will not run again this year. Without this program, older adults who are experiencing vision loss within London will not have a formalized program where they can explore their feelings associated with vision loss or share practical strategies to support the daily challenges they are experiencing both in the home and in the community. Given the positive impact that a peer support program can have on reducing experiences of depression and reducing the risk of social isolation, it would be a loss to not offer this program to the over 260 London residents presently on a wait list to receive this service. What are the Risks of Undertaking this Initiative? There are no known risks associated with undertaking this initiative. How will Success be Measured? Performance Measures/Milestones - The training of 6 new volunteer senior facilitators - Provision of the peer support program to approximately 30 seniors. - Delivery of the peer support program (1 time per week for 8 weeks) 3 times per year in London. - A greater level of social participation and engagement of seniors with vision loss. - An increased feeling of self- confidence/ empowerment of the older adult participants. - Increased knowledge among the senior participants about their eye condition. Targets X 4

5 - Increased ability among group participants to adopt practical solutions designed to overcome the daily challenges associated with vision loss and promote social participation within the community. Additional Information: Success among the program participants will be evaluated. This will be determined by a survey that will be completed both at the beginning of the group sessions and at the end of the peer support program. By conducting the survey at two separate time points, CNIB staff will be able to better understand the influence of the program on variables such as (but not limited to): a) changes in emotional responses to vision loss; b) willingness to participate in community activities; c) adoption of strategies designed to enhance participation in daily activities and; d) enhanced understanding of eye conditions. List any Background of Reference documents (please provide hyperlinks wherever possible): Age Friendly City Working Group (June, 2010): Social Research and Planning City of London, Department of Community Services (2005): APPLICATION DEADLINE: SEPTEMBER 3, 2013 SUBMIT APPLICATION: application to or mail to the following address: City of London Only: Date Received: Program: Service Grouping: Service: Community Development & Funding Attn: Paula de Freitas 151 Dundas St, Suite 303 London, ON N6A 4L6 5

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