Projects Boost Social Well-Being

People in the Columbia Basin will be better able to access community resources, build connections and overcome barriers through 42 projects that aim to improve quality of life and enhance social well-being in the region. The projects are being supported with over $800,000 from Columbia Basin Trust’s Social Grants program.

“Residents told us that improving social well-being in Basin communities continues to be a priority and is dependent on many factors, including having access to supports and resources, overcoming barriers like poverty, and feeling like you’re included in and belong in your community,” said Nicole MacLellan, Delivery of Benefits Manager with Columbia Basin Trust. “Each of these projects focuses on addressing social challenges to enhance the lives of people in the Basin.”

Furniture That Makes an Impact

People in Nakusp and area with unwanted furniture or appliances will soon be able to put them to good use. Arrow and Slocan Lakes Community Services is opening a workshop where people with barriers to employment will refurbish or repairdonated items or turn them into new products. They will then sell these items in a new store. Participants will gain training and work experience in a socially inclusive setting.

“Offering people the opportunity to actively participate in valued roles in the community helps increase their sense of belonging and acceptance,” said Christiana Samai, Social Venture Coordinator with the Arrow and Slocan Lakes Community Services. “This leads to a better quality of life and a happier, healthier and more inclusive community.”

Expanding Online Support for Seniors

When the pandemic forced the Caregivers Network for East Kootenay Seniors Society to pause in-person support for seniors and their caregivers, the organization started offering a newservice online - but to Cranbrook residents only. The online forum proved popular, so now the society is expanding it across the Columbia Basin. Twice a month, a Conversation Café will bring seniors and caregivers together virtually, along with guest speakers and representatives from community agencies to discover local resources, learn from one another and feel socially included.

“This project will increase awareness of local services and provide valuable information and connections to help keep seniors safe during the pandemic and beyond,” said Tobi Johnston, Executive Director of the Caregivers Network for East Kootenay Seniors Society. “By offering a gathering place and support during a time when many seniors are confined to their homes, it will help reduce social isolation and improve mental health and wellness.”

Healing From Violence

The Trail Family and Individual Resource Centre Society provides accommodation for women, with and without children, who have left abusive relationships or experienced past abuse. To supplement the one-on-one counselling the women already receive, a new project will offer group activities to strengthen healing and connections amongst peers.

“Participants will work toward healing and build connections through activities that promote greater acceptance of themselves, opportunities for self-care and improved self-esteem,” said Janet MacNeil, Executive Director with the Trail Family and Individual Resource Centre Society. “When stronger connections and relationships are built through shared activities, women start to maximize their daily lives, future relationships and achieve work and educational goals.”

Ispahke'nikun Neya'nan Ayiseni'wak (Uplift Our People)

Working alongside a range of partners, the Métis Nation Columbia River Society will expand its services and offer a variety of culturally safe supports, activities and events that empower Métis people in Golden and area, and showcase their history and heritage to the local community.

“Our services will help participants enhance their life and financial skills, learn how to manage mental and physical challenges and build cultural connections, and help them access supports like educational funding,” said Caren Nagao, Métis Nation Columbia River Society President. “Also, through community events and workshops, both Indigenous and non‐Indigenous community members will be able to expand their knowledge of Indigenous history and our contributions to this country.”

The guidelines and deadlines for the next intake of Social Grants are posted on out the latest grant opportunities by signing up for the Trust’s e-newsletter at

Columbia Basin Trust supports the ideas and efforts of the people in the Columbia Basin. To learn more about the Trust’sprograms and initiatives, and how it helps deliver social, economic and environmental benefits to the Basin, visit or call 1.800.505.8998.