Development of a Children's Health Hub in Gold River!

Gold River has a new Children's Health Hub under development and will host a grand opening event to launch this new initiative and physical site mid-September 2017! What follows is a brief look at how this was all made possible through many community stakeholders coming together at their local Success By 6 Early Years Community Development Planning table and addressing the specific needs identified in their community.

Last November was a pivotal point for the Gold River Early Years Inter-agency Table, now known as the Vancouver Island West (VIW) Early Years Table. For sometime the table had been aware that children and families in the Gold River area, including all of SD 84, were being missed by the radar of many services due to various reasons such as the remote area, distance, travel budget, etc.

Many families from Campbell River and the Comox Valley have started moving to the Gold River area due to a lack of housing and costs in those cities. After the Medical Health Officer raised concern about the vulnerability of this area, 53% vulnerability on the overall Early Development Indicator (EDI) measure, the table was encouraged to apply for one of Island Health's Wellness Grants. At the same time, a discussion with a representative of the Children's Health Foundation of Vancouver Island was underway to discuss the concept of a Family Navigator to provide support to families and act as an advocate for enhanced service accessibility in the area. The VIW Early Years Table applied for a grant with the Children's Health Foundation of Vancouver Island to create a Children's Health Hub. 

The VIW Early Years Table was successful in their applications for both grants, and received the funding for this important new initiative in April of 2017. The Children's Health Hub will connect families with health resources and service providers. There will be a large open reception/waiting/play area, a small kitchenette and lunchroom, a Stopping the Violence/Legal Services Society outreach office, a large meeting room, and two client rooms where service providers can meet with families.

The potential of the Hub continues to grow and the direction of this growth will be overseen by a steering committee and coordinator. A second coordinator will be added to the team to provide Aboriginal Outreach to the Zebellos and Kyuquot communities. The Children's Heath Hub steering committee will also oversee a research project to take a closer look at childhood resiliency in the whole region. 

As development of the site is underway, there is a great deal of interest from service providers to connect with the Children's Health Hub once open this fall. It was discovered there are many services available to children and families in Gold River yet families often did not know about them - with Children's Health Hub, the plan is to change that.