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Network helps people with disabilities focus on mental, physical wellness

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 11:36 PDT, Fri June 10, 2022

A range of community services for people with disabilities throughout B.C. will be expanded, thanks to a provincial grant of $3 million over three years.

With the renewed funding, the BC Paraplegic Foundation will support the BC Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Community Services Network so it can continue to focus on initiatives to improve inclusion for people with disabilities. The funding will also support a new Indigenous liaison position to help the network and Indigenous communities co-create culturally safe and relevant Indigenous programs.

"Since the passing of the Accessible B.C. Act last year, we have been dedicated to removing barriers, so that all people living with disabilities have an equal chance to succeed," said Nicholas Simons, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. "And I am so happy that we are continuing to support the BC SCI Community Services Network, as the work they do across the province is critical to achieving this goal."

The BC SCI Community Services Network includes the Neil Squire Society, the BC Wheelchair Basketball Society, the BC Wheelchair Sports Association, Spinal Cord Injury BC (and BC Paraplegic Foundation), and the Disability Foundation.

The network's services aim to remove social isolation by helping to support people with disabilities be physically and mentally healthy, find accessible housing, get jobs, participate in sport and recreation, and access the information and resources they need to participate and succeed in their communities.

"Individually, our organizations are known for doing a lot with a little, but we know we can do a whole lot more by working together,” says Chris McBride, executive director of Spinal Cord Injury BC. “This welcome support from the province allows our network to continue being a constructive and innovative partner with government in working toward our common goal of establishing B.C. as the best place for people with physical disabilities and their families to live, work, and be active."

Partnerships within the health care, research and tourism sectors, and community-based organizations allows the BC SCI Community Services Network to provide unique educational and wellness activities for people with disabilities and their families. Initiatives in peer support, active living, and recreation help people with spinal cord injuries and other physical disabilities adapt and thrive.

While the BC SCI Community Services Network serves people with spinal cord injuries, each partner organization also serves a range of individuals, including people with different forms of disability, family members, caregivers, students, athletes of all abilities, and others who provide support and care.

Government is working to break down barriers to accessibility, promote fairness and equity, and to build a better B.C. that integrates accessibility into everyday lives.

Last year, the BC SCI Network provided services to more than 18,000 people provincewide. Collectively, the organizations that make up the BC SCI Network have provided more than 220 years of service delivery in B.C.

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