Planning For Seniors Services In Southwest Hamilton

S.A.S.H. (Seniors Activities in Southwest Hamilton) is a program that was developed by members of the Kirkendall Neighbourhood Association who realized that beyond the swimming programs at Ryerson Recreation Centre, there were no other programs for seniors in that neighbourhood. In 2009 we received a New Horizons Grant of approximately $25,000. The grant allowed the Association to hire a qualified exercise instructor and buy equipment for a program We have worked in close partnership with the Hamilton Dept. of Culture and Recreation and were given two hours three days a week to run the program at the Rec. Centre.

S.A.S.H. has been very well received and we have a membership of 40-50 seniors. It is open to people over 55 from any area of the city. We have members from Kirkendall, Durand, Westdale and Strathcona. The first hour is devoted to low impact exercise. During the second hour, some members play Wii games or socialize and we often have speakers or other types of exercise demonstrations. There are occasional outings and potluck meals. The camaraderie is clear and strong.

S.A.S.H. is now an independent registered non-profit organization no longer affiliated with the Kirkendall association. There is a board of directors made up of members of the program and there is a constitution.

One of our objectives has been to reach into the community to bring isolated seniors into the program with an aim of maintaining or improving their emotional and physical health.

As our board was discussing this, we realized that it might make sense to meet with people from each of the four neighbourhoods from which we have members. In order to build on our program we will need more space. Therefore, it would be a good idea for representatives from all four neighbourhoods to meet together and discuss ongoing plans for seniors’ programming as it might lead to a more effective way to gain support and grants. Our hope is that some day Southwest Hamilton will have a seniors centre.

Each neighbourhood has expressed an interest in doing so and we are organizing a meeting for June 13th at 7 pm at the Stanley Avenue Baptist Church, corner Stanley and Locke. Entrance is off the parking lot via the back door.

— Mary Lou Reiman

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