It’s been a busy summer season for staff at the Stettler Information and Referral Centre.
“Over the summer, we worked on the Community Resource Directory,” said Lorraine Hankins, who is the Centre’s executive director.
“It’s a compilation of resources and services within the Town and the County of Stettler,” she said. “We are getting a lot of of positive feedback – we mailed them out to 4,800 residents within the Town and the County, and we’ve also given additional copies to mental health, FCSS, Alberta Works and we have some here.
“It’s been kind of a dream of mine to do this for many years, because not everyone is online, and is getting left behind in terms of accessing programs and resources.
“I’m a firm believer in knowledge and empowerment – and I think that if you have a guide, you have a base to build on.
“This directory will help them to maneuver the maze of programs and services that we have,” she said.
“It’s also a start to helping families who might be looking for numbers to call for services.”
Beyond that, it’s also a handy collection of information for new professionals to the community as well.
“It’s for anyone – for those who have been here for 20 years and need some updated information to newcomers who don’t know what’s available. It’s a directory for the professionals as well as the clients,” she said.
The guide is also available online at www.stettlerconnects.com – which itself is being increasingly utilized.
“It’s really grown, and people are really accessing the site for all kinds of things,” she said.
Hankins said the Centre is also hoping to do more community outreach in the coming months as well to help promote various programs.
They also would like to recruit some more volunteers as well.
“Due to the (pandemic) shutdowns, we haven’t been able to do much of that,” she said, adding that a recent provincial grant will help keep the Centre’s operations going as well. “We will also be able to update our policies and procedures,” she said.
“So that was huge – we are really happy that we got that grant. We are kind of going grant by grant right now to help keep the doors open. We don’t have sustainable or monthly funding,” she added.
Hankins assists many seniors with any number of forms they may have to fill out to apply for various programs, from Canada Pension to Old Age Security to helping them to complete tax returns.
She also offers information referrals – anyone with any questions about where to turn for specific assistance can call the office and be pointed to the agency or organization that is best suited to meet their needs from mental health to social services.
She provides guardianship, trusteeship and personal directive services as well.
She can also help newcomers with renewing their working visas or Canadian citizenship or permanent resident (issues).
“We want to make sure people are receiving help from all of the programs for which they are eligible. Sometimes it’s a housing subsidy, sometimes it’s a Canada Pension program question — all those kinds of things.
“I think I like the variety of the work – every one that comes in brings a different scenario. There is no boredom! I love people – you laugh with them, you cry with them. It’s very rewarding.”
For more, call the Stettler Information and Referral Centre at 403-742-1155.