Sunrise Services Society held the grand opening for its new drop-in centre on Oct. 17, in Burns Lake and the Nechako-Kitamaat Development Fund Society (NKDF) donated $6,000 towards the centre. (L-R) Lianne Olson, a director with NKDF, Kelly Turford of Sunrise Services Society and Mike Robertson, also an NKDF director hold the cheque for $6,000. (Blair McBride photos)

New centre provides support for seniors

A new drop-in centre aims to support senior residents of Burns Lake to live healthy and independent lives.

The non-profit Sunrise Services Society held its grand opening on Oct. 17 at its office in the Evergreen Mall.

Coordinator Kelly Turford first came up with the idea for the centre back in May and it steadily came to fruition.

“[I was] getting feedback from the community and getting funding for the resource, referral and drop-in centre,” Turford told Lakes District News. “Once I gauged the community support for the idea and received funding that’s when I went ahead and opened. A little later than I anticipated but things happen for a reason and it was a great time to open.”

Turford, whose work with the centre is all voluntary saw that there was a gap in seniors support in Burns Lake.

“There hasn’t been a resource, referral and drop-in centre until now. The Seniors Society provides activities and outings but the drop-in centre will address needs in the community that aren’t yet being addressed. As a community we’re trying to bring attention to abuse, neglect and self-neglect of aging folk and vulnerable adults,” she said.

“We want to empower seniors and vulnerable adults and enhance their quality of life, as well as provide resources and support for our senors and their families and support workers.”

The centre has an array of information for seniors on health, finances and housing, and it also functions as a hub for services, for example in offering help with transportation schedules, the paperwork of income taxes, Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security and filing for medical expenses.

“[It’s about] giving people the information they need to maintain their independence in their homes for the longer term,” Turford said.

Transportation services for seniors and Meals On Wheels – both of which are financed by the local Northern Health authority – operate through the centre as well.

Turford has received support for the centre from the College of New Caledonia, the Burns Lake and District Seniors Society, the BC Association of Community Response Networks and the Lakes District Community Response Networks.

The Nechako-Kitamaat Development Society gave the project a big boost through its donation of $6,000, which financed the new office.

For the time being the Sunrise Services Society will be open on Tuesdays and Thursdays and some volunteers have opted to help Turford with running the centre.

Blair McBride
Multimedia reporter
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