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Castor & District FCSS keeping busy with a full slate of community programming

Other programs run through Castor FCSS include the town’s Meals on Wheels program

By Kevin J. Sabo

For the Advance

Castor & District Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) is looking forward to the programming offerings this fall.

Mandy Fuller, the Castor FCSS manager, is in the process of arranging activities through the fall for young and old alike.

“It’s September, and we’re getting going again,” said Fuller.

Scheduled programming coming up includes a seniors’ paint afternoon in Fleet on Sept. 15, being put on in partnership with the Halkirk Seniors Centre, using a grant for senior’s program funding.

“In Halkirk, this grant also sponsors the senior centre to be open once a week for people to come together,” said Fuller.

“A big focus is on socialization, reconnecting for people’s mental health.”

The same seniors’ programming will be beginning in Castor on Sept. 14, as well, running on Tuesday afternoons at the Castor Golden Circle.

Seniors in the community are encouraged to come down, have a coffee, and socialize on these days.

For the young ones, once everyone is back into the routine of fall, Fuller will be offering some kids programming at the Golden Circle as well. The youth programming will start as a monthly offering, but if the participation is good more days could be offered. Youth activities will include games and crafts like had been hosted at the old Castor Lighthouse Church.

Other programs run through Castor FCSS include the town’s Meals on Wheels program.

The program offers delivered meals for purchase to seniors and those unable to cook for themselves. It’s offered in partnership with Castor’s Paintearth Lodge, who cooks the meals.

The volunteer drivers for the program typically only deliver “once or twice a month” according to Fuller, and drivers get a free meal for the day.

“It’s a great service because it supports people staying in their homes.”

Another program aimed at keeping seniors in their homes is Telecare.

Telecare provides users with “fall button” they can press if they have fallen and are unable to get up themselves. Pressing the button will contact emergency services, providing them assistance.

The service costs $75 for the initial hook up, as well $1 a day for the first month. After that, the fee will vary depending on the plan. A simple device attached to a landline will cost $37.95 a month, while a device with fall detection built in will cost $52.95. For those without a landline, another option is to get a device which connects to the cell phone. Around a dozen clients currently use the service.

Looking further into the fall, FCSS in partnership with the Rural Mental Health Project will be hosting a ‘meet your neighbour’ type social gathering at the Golden Circle, however Fuller doesn’t have it scheduled yet as she wants to wait for harvest to be done, allowing as many people as possible to attend.

“I’m hoping it will bring out people who have been isolating. Let’s just visit and enjoy each other’s company. I think that’s one of the best ways we can support mental health.”

In October, Fuller has scheduled a Halloween family dance, taking place Oct. 30, at the Castor Community Hall. The dance will be running at the same time as the Castor Volunteer Fire Department annual haunted house, which is making a return for 2021. The haunted house will take place at the new fire hall at the edge of town, near OK Tire.

Castor & District FCSS covers the western half of Paintearth County, though frequently collaborates with the Coronation FCSS, and other groups, such as the Town of Castor.

During the summer, the summer camp run by the town was done in partnership with Castor’s FCSS.

“Euan Hanton ran some programs for teenagers at Quality Fitness,” said Fuller.

“It was a slow start, but then most new projects are. It is something we want to continue next summer. We need to reach and support our teenagers and give them some tools. We can do a lot of fun things but hidden behind it is mental health.”

When she’s not organizing and running programming in the region, Fuller is taking the continuing education required for her social work degree. Recently, she completed a program called ‘Indigenous Canada: Looking Forward/ Looking Back’, a free university level program that anyone can take.