By:  Sue Dickens

EMC Lifestyles – Campbellford – Moving forward from its 50th anniversary year celebration of events and activities Community Living Campbellford/Brighton has met its challenges head on.

For the first time a new format was put in place and the 51st annual general meeting was combined with a barbeque and family fun at the Seymour Conservation Area.

In a report to members at the meeting the board’s outgoing President Marion Fennell and Executive Director Nancy Brown explained that the organization met some challenges this year with increased costs at a time when the Ministry of Community and Social Services decided not to meet the fourth year base funding commitment.

In addition, the 2010 provincial budget imposed a two-year compensation restraint.

“Community Living was able to meet these difficulties with a small deficit for the 2010/11 budget year,” said their report.

“Recognizing the ongoing contribution, talent and time to the organization,” by the board highlights of the past year were listed as the organization continues to meet its strategic plan direction with ongoing efforts to enhance supports and services.

One of the highlights was a visit by Liberal MP Justin Trudeau who spoke to more than 100 community members about the importance of volunteerism.

As well it was noted that Community Living has developed a strategic approach to building community capacity with a new look at engaging community members in a companion/volunteer model.

This started about a year ago with a small ad hoc committee of community-minded people with a new vision and process for engaging the community.

As a result several new “companions” are now playing a key role in assisting people supported by the organization to enhance their social roles in the community.

Word of their success has spread with many agencies asking for the organization’s resources to use their model in other parts of Ontario.

Over the past two months Community Living Campbellford/Brighton has worked closely with the Rotary at Work initiative and has adopted their employment model.

Steve Sharpe, owner of Sharpe’s Food Market has become a “champion” and in addition to attending employer meetings he has promoted the organization’s employment program at Rotary meetings.

Since moving to this model there has been a 72 per cent increase in community based employment.

Another success is the recommendation that Community Living Campbellford/Brighton be once again the recipient of another four-year term of accreditation.

The Council on Quality & Leadership (CQL) conducted a review March 2011 and made the recommendation.

It was explained at the annual meeting that in an effort to improve supports and services for adults with intellectual disabilities and their families, the government has implemented a new regulation on Quality Assurance Measures.

The new rules came into effect in January which meant training for all staff and volunteers, awareness for people and families within service and development of new policies and procedures.

As part of this process, the new intake entities (Developmental Services Ontario) came into effect July 1. This process will make sure that everyone applying for services and supports is treated fairly, stated the board in its report.

“We look forward to another year of success. Together we can make a difference,” said Fennell and Brown.