News Release - October 27, 2016

Regional District of Nanaimo

Island Health Community Wellness Grant Allows for Community Recreation Program Expansion

The Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) is expanding community recreation programs thanks to a grant from Island Health. The RDN is receiving a total of $154,993 through the Community Wellness Grant, of which $47,260 is designated for Recreation and Parks in District 69. The remaining funds will be distributed throughout the region to the City of Nanaimo, District of Lantzville and Electoral Areas A, B and C.

"This funding will allow the Recreation and Parks Department to enhance and expand existing programs and explore new program ideas to support the health and wellness of our residents," said RDN Chair Bill Veenhof. "These initiatives also support our Board's Strategic Priorities by recognizing recreational amenities as core services and planning for the impact of our aging population."

Existing programs that will be expanded include the popular afterschool drop in gym programs that are run in both Qualicum Beach and Parksville, and a number of fitness programs including Seated Fitness, Gentle Fit and Gentle Cardio. New program ideas to be explored include a 'Prescription for Health' program in partnership with the Oceanside Division of Family Practice. Another potential program area would be in partnership with School District 69 and Island Health and based on principles of the 5-2-1-0 Childhood Obesity Prevention model. These programs are well aligned with the goals of the Community Wellness Grant and are already addressing a number of the modifiable risk factors to health and are reaching some of the key populations the grant hopes to reach.

"Island Health has made a commitment through our new community wellness granting program to partner with communities to improve the health of our population," said Toni O'Keeffe, Vice President of Communications and Public Relations with Island Health. "We can no longer just focus on treating people when they are ill. Together with our partners we want to improve the health conditions and the quality of life of the population, especially the lives of children, seniors and those people suffering with mental health and substance use challenges. We believe dollars invested in keeping people healthy before they end up in the hospital or in a doctor's office, are dollars well spent."

For more information about the RDN Recreation and Parks department initiatives contact 250-248-3252 or visit www.rdn.bc.ca/recreation

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Hannah KingValerie Wilson
Superintendent, Recreation and Program ServicesDirector, Communications and Engagement
RDNIsland Health