SYDNEY: Community groups in Nova Scotia Health’s Eastern Zone recently received funding for projects that support local health plan priorities.

Wellness Fund grants are awarded annually to non-profit organizations across the province working to improve health in their communities, the Nova Scotia Health Authority said in a press release issued on May 5. They said access to this funding is based on community priorities identified in community health board (CHB) health plans.

The nine CHBs in the Eastern Zone received more than $141,000 in funding for wellness fund recipients, the NSHA said, noting the Eastern Zone’s CHBs include Antigonish Town and County, Central Cape Breton County, Central Inverness County, East Cape Breton County, Guysborough County, Northern Inverness County, Northside the Lakes, Strait Richmond, and Victoria County. This year, funding was provided to 57 projects, the health authority said.

Among the projects approved for funding were: Antigonish and Area Homemakers “Service Meals Plus”; Mini Trail Community Centre “A Community of Well Being”; Pomquet Area Cultural Recreational Community Development Association “Seniors 2021 Christmas Dinner”; SchoolsPlus École Acadienne de Pomquet “Open Gym”; VON Antigonish Meals on Wheels Goshen and Area Expansion; Pomquet Development Society “Seniors Acadien Baskets”; Mabou Farmers “Market Wellness at the Market”; Nova Scotia Schools Plus Southern Inverness County Pantry and Backpack Program; Canso and Area Childcare Association Daycare Initiative; Mulgrave Road Theatre Community Writers Group; Schools Plus Guysborough County Monastery Hub “Incredible Years”; Upper Big Tracadie Seniors Action Club “Afrocentric Brain Scavenger Project”; Richmond Education Centre/Academy Youth Health Centre “Food Hamper”; Ecole Beau-Port “Cuisinons Ensemble”; and Potlotek First Nation “Apoqn’masultijlk Jinmu’k.”

For Antigonish, Guysborough and Strait Richmond CHBs, wellness funds were awarded to projects that focused on helping community-based service providers overcome the increase in food costs and new and existing mental health issues arising from living in a pandemic, the NSHA stated.

The NSHA said an example of this is the Full Belly Boxes program provided by the Strait Area Women’s Place. They explained that clients can register monthly for a food box that contains all the necessary ingredients to prepare a family friendly nutritious meal along with a recipe card, meal prep instructions and information on how to access direct services within the community.

“As a volunteer and co-chair of the Strait Richmond community health board it is a privilege and honour to support the innovative wellness initiatives that make our communities better for all citizens,” said Annette Kehoe, co-chair of Eastern Zone’s council of chairs.

For CHBs in Central and Northern Inverness county and Victoria County, the NSHA said projects that advocated for and supported diverse community initiatives in rural, isolated communities were a priority. Recipients included “Devoted to Diversity,” a small group in North Inverness county which supports events for neuro diverse children and their families and the March of Dimes, which empowers people with disabilities, they noted.

For a full list of wellness fund recipients, visit: https://www.communityhealthboards.ns.ca/s/Eastern-Zone-Funded-Wellness-Funds-2021-2022.pdf. To learn more about wellness funds or how you can become a CHB volunteer, visit: www.communityhealthboards.ns.ca/wellness-funds or contact your respective CHB coordinator.