CONTACT Community Services is currently offering seniors’ programs within the Town of New Tecumseth thanks to funding from the municipality. A senior’s crafting workshop is held twice a month in Beeton and Alliston.
“The workshops are absolutely free for the seniors as it gives them an outlet to be creative in a program they may not be able to afford,” Melisa Fox, CONTACT community engagement coordinator, told The Review. “As well, it’s an opportunity for the seniors to socialize, in the hope of reducing social isolation in their rural community.”
Craft materials are supplied.
“We tend to keep the crafts seasonal,” said Fox. “In the summer, we made flower wreaths; in the fall, we made candle jars and Thanksgiving flower centrepieces; and for Christmas, we made our own ornaments, Christmas cards, picture frames and decorated gingerbread men.”
“The seniors we work with are on a low income and most give these crafts to family members, which helps them save money, especially for the holiday season,” she added.
Senior clients range anywhere from ages 59 through 93. And while it is mostly women who attend, Fox notes, “a lot more men are coming out.”
The workshops are held every other week at low-income, County of Simcoe subsidized-housing seniors’ apartment buildings in Beeton and Alliston.
“Currently, only tenants of the building can attend,” explained Fox. “However, we do offer three free workshops a year, for all ages, at the Gibson Cultural Centre.”
Starting in January, CONTACT will be offering a “Community Volunteer Income Tax Program” so low-income earners can get their taxes filed for free.
“We are currently seeking volunteers interested in helping clients,” said Fox.
CONTACT was started in 1977 by a small group of dedicated residents in response to a community survey. The study showed there was a high incidence of suicide, alcoholism and marriage breakdowns within South Simcoe communities and a profound lack of support agencies to deal with the problem.
These days, CONTACT is a non-profit registered charity with a long standing history of taking a proactive approach to ever-changing social needs. They specialize in community information, housing resources, employment services and also serve as a volunteer centre. Their community thrift store, “The Clothes Line,” provides a valuable community service by recycling gently used clothing, small household goods, electronics, toys and books. In turn, revenue generated from the store helps support CONTACT services. The Clothes Line also works with many local community organizations in providing free clothing and household goods for those in need.
For more information, log on to www.contactsouthsimcoe.ca or call 705-435-4900.
In the photo, from the left, Pansy Higgins, Ruth Farmer, Daisy Derrick, Kate Hughes, Joan Driscoll and Gillian Goyen show off their Thanksgiving centerpieces created at the New Tecumseth seniors crafting program at the Beeton location.