Harper government invests in innovative project to combat social isolation among seniors

Vancouver, British Columbia – Employment and Social Development Canada

The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors) announced today New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) funding of $50,000 to the First United Church for its Seniors’ Social Club project.

The First United Church will recruit senior volunteers to participate in peer-led sessions for seniors whose personal circumstances make participating in community activities a challenge. Programming developed through the Seniors’ Social Club project will be based on input gathered from community partners and volunteers. The project aims to increase the support network of seniors who are at risk by providing them with referrals and services. It also entails establishing partnerships with local arts organizations to support cultural sessions for seniors. The main objective of the project is to reduce isolation among seniors and provide them with the support they need to become integrated and active community members.

The Government of Canada has provided more than $1.7 million in NHSP funding support for 24 NHSP pilot projects across Canada that will lead to new initiatives and activities that help reduce the social isolation of seniors.

Quick Facts

  • Economic Action Plan 2014 has recently increased funding for the NHSP by $5 million per year. This is in addition to the $45 million the Government already provides to this program annually.
  • Since 2006, the NHSP has funded more than 13,000 projects in hundreds of communities across Canada. NHSP funding supports projects that focus on issues like elder abuse, social isolation and intergenerational learning.
  • In 2013, an NHSP call for proposals for pilot projects on social isolation and intergenerational learning was launched. In May 2014, Minister of State Wong announced that 20 of these projects had been approved. An additional 4 projects have since been approved, for a total of 24 projects now underway.
  • The Government of Canada website provides seniors, their families and caregivers with important resources and information about elder abuse.


“Our government is proud to work with organizations like the First United Church. This project is a fine example of how we can help provide local programming designed to keep isolated seniors connected, informed and involved in community activities in the Vancouver area.”

– The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors)

“Our government recognizes that seniors continue to contribute their skills and experience to communities and workplaces across Canada. Through initiatives like the NHSP, we are empowering seniors by supporting projects that help improve their well-being and quality of life.”

– The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors)

“For seniors living in precarious and substandard housing, social isolation is an immense health concern. The Seniors’ Social Club draws on the direct input of Downtown Eastside residents and First United’s decades of service experience and will provide tangible and impactful support for seniors living in poverty.”

– Stephen Gray, Executive Director, First United Church Community Ministry Society

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