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A ‘BENCH’ MARK OF SUCCESS

- Age-Friendly Committee Forges Partnership with Bank and City to Provide Seating Space for Older Adults in Fenelon -

(FENELON FALLS) – Sharon Kimble wasn’t going to take things sitting down when she retired.

After nearly 35 years working at the Bank of Montreal (BMO) branch in Fenelon Falls, Kimble retired in early 2012 providing her the opportunity to volunteer in her community. Subsequently, she joined the Fenelon Falls Age-Friendly Committee.

Age-Friendly Committee members are volunteers who work with staff from the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit and other community agencies to promote and improve services and supports for healthy aging in Fenelon Falls. According to the Health Unit, the age-friendly initiative is a good fit for the Fenelon Falls area which has one of the highest percentages of retirees in all of Ontario.

“An age-friendly community is a healthy and active place where people of all ages and abilities enjoy improved quality of life, and that’s something we certainly want to promote in Fenelon Falls,” Kimble notes.

One of the aims of Fenelon Falls’ Age-Friendly Community is to break down barriers and make outdoor spaces more accessible to everyone. A simple way to do this is to create more rest areas – an opportunity seized upon by Kimble.

Realizing that her former employer, BMO, had a community grant program, Kimble applied for funding on behalf of the Age-Friendly Committee. Her request was simple: to get the bank to help offset the costs of installing a public bench on the main street of Fenelon Falls. The funding was approved by BMO, and with further financial support from the City of Kawartha Lakes, the bench was installed this spring on the sidewalk in downtown Fenelon Falls.

While the bench may seem like a small thing, it is symbolic of what individuals, businesses and government can do help create a more age-friendly community, says Doreen Boville, a Health Promoter with the HKPR District Health Unit who also belongs to the Fenelon Falls Age-Friendly Committee.

“Whether it’s a bench, a wheelchair ramp or a disabled parking spot, all of these features help to break down barriers,” she notes. “That is the great thing about age-friendly initiatives. They cross all ages and benefit everyone, including families, children and persons with disabilities.”

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For media inquiries, contact:
Doreen Boville, Health Promoter, Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit, (705) 324-3569, ext. 2323.

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