Dear Friends and Member-Owners of the Victoria Health Co-operative, 

We, the Board, member-owners, volunteers, practitioners and all who participate in the work of the Victoria Health Co-op want to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who makes our work possible. We would especially like to thank the Cook Street Village Activity Centre, Volunteer Victoria, Fort Royal Pharmacy, and the Canadian Red Cross Society for their invaluable support. Our sister organization, Creating Community Wellness Society (CCWS), also sends its thanks.  

2020 was a difficult year for us all. However, assistance from our volunteers, funders, and partners not only made our work possible, but allowed us to serve our community in new ways. Read on for more updates about our work and upcoming initiatives:

Wellness Education 

Due to COVID-19, we chose to cease our monthly hands-on Wellness Clinics where we offered accessible, by-donation wellness services to our member-owners. With the help and support of the Canadian Red Cross, we transitioned to No-Touch Wellbeing Sessions over Zoom. The Wellbeing Sessions (free and open to everyone!) aim to connect our community and introduce new ideas. Participants share 3-minute presentations, followed by group discussion and good conversation.

We will continue offering Zoom Wellbeing Sessions in the new year. Check our calendar to find dates, times, and Zoom links. Please let us know if YOU have a presentation suggestion! Get in touch with us at vichealthcoop@gmail.com to participate in an upcoming session. 

New Partnerships and Programs 

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light major gaps in the way we support our most vulnerable community members. To help bridge this gap, VHC is collaborating with the Retail Action Network on their Paid Sick Days Campaign. Sponsored by the Employment Standards Coalition, this campaign is a call to the BC Government to provide all employees with paid sick days in response to the COVID-19 emergency. The Retail Action Network believes that “no one should have to choose between working while sick and not being able to pay rent,” and we at the VHC agree. Visit retailaction.ca to learn more about the campaign, sign the petition, and send a letter to your MLA to demand paid sick days for every worker in BC. 

In the new year, we will be delivering our Choices for a Healthy Lifestyle program in partnership with Our Place Society. Our goal is to provide free health education and social connection to older adults who may face barriers to accessing traditional seniors programming. The program will revolve around fundamental health topics such as nutrition, exercise, sleep, safety, stress management, the benefit of health co-ops, and COVID-19 community support. We are excited to begin this work with Our Place Society! If you are interested in supporting the Choices program or volunteering, please contact vichealthcoop@gmail.com

Joint Annual General Meeting of Victoria Health Co-operative and Creating Community Wellness Society

This will be held from 1:30pm-4:00pm on Saturday, January 30 at both the Cook Street Village Activity Centre and online via Zoom video conference. If you prefer to attend in person, please RSVP as capacity will be limited due to social distancing or current provincial health orders.

We invite you to join in the discussion to learn about new and on-going programs and to share your ideas about supporting our community and fundraising for programs. Also find out how you can help our organization throughout the year, and perhaps from the comfort of your home from a computer, especially important as we work in relative isolation.

It is crucial that we reach quorum for this meeting, so we strongly encourage all VHC and CCWS members to participate in our AGM. Please RSVP by email to vichealthcoop@gmail.com or visit www.victoriahealthcooperative.com for registration details. If you are unable to attend, please provide a voting proxy via our online proxy form, or by email or phone to any Board member. 

How Can You Contribute to the Health of Your Co-op?

Are you curious about co-operatives and want to support the co-op community at large? You can book a 1 hour or half day co-op orientation with a donation to the CCWS. Learn lots and ask questions – and no final exams! Read on for more ways to get involved: 

Giving

The simplest way to support the activities of VHC and CCWS is through a monthly donation from your financial institution to our Creating Community Wellness Society (CCWS) account at Vancity. Everything helps! As a registered charitable organization, CCWS can issue charitable donation receipts to our generous donors. We will provide charitable donation receipts for financial contributions $10 and up, which you can include in your 2021 tax return for all gifts received by December 31st, 2020. We are thankful for our community’s tradition of generosity, and in particular, financial support for our programs.

A big thank you to all our members who have paid their annual membership dues ($25 or whatever is possible). If you have yet to pay your annual dues, we kindly ask that you send a cheque to Victoria Health Co-op c/o Unit 1, 380 Cook St., V8V 3X7 or e-transfer to vichealthcooptreasurer@gmail.com

Volunteering

Financial gifts are only half the story of generosity in Victoria. Every action taken by Victoria Health Co-op and CCWS is the result of volunteer effort. This includes the “No Touch” Wellbeing Sessions, previous Wellness Clinics, other wellness and health education programs, and the day-to-day running of the Co-op and CCWS. If you have time, skills, and energy, we encourage you to contribute as an active volunteer by:

Please email vichealthcoop@gmail.com to learn more about volunteering. 

Questions? Great! Keep asking! But mainly, THANK YOU, for your generosity as financial supporters and volunteers for this community resource. We could not function without you.

The Boards of Victoria Health Co-op and Creating Community Wellness Society wish you and your family and friends the happiest and healthiest of holidays and a very bright 2021. We are sending a big thank you to our volunteers, advocates and supporters – we look forward to working together in the New Year!

Yours Co-operatively,

Victoria Health Co-operative

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