By Julie Ireton
If you’re newly retired, love to organize events and ready to shift your skills to volunteer in your own community, Abbotsford at The Glebe Centre could use your help.
With a full slate of both in-person and Zoom activities set to launch, the seniors’ centre in the old stone house across from Lansdowne Park has a lot on offer, but in view of a close to 50 per cent cut in funding from the City for next year, raising money to keep the centre operating will be a key focus in the coming year.
Right now, planning is underway for the “Abbotsford House Gala: A Night To Remember,” a 200-person fundraiser at Lansdowne’s Horticulture Building set for October 19. It will feature cocktails, dinner, live entertainment and auctions in support of Abbotsford’s programs.
Volunteers and sponsors are critical for the event to proceed and the centre’s director of charitable giving, Bruce Hill, is eager to find generous donors and local companies interested in helping out.
As an organization that operates on government grants, fundraising and membership fees, securing stable funding is always a struggle, according to Karen Anne Blakely, director of community programs at Abbotsford.
“We did lose funding for next year,” said Blakely. “Initially, the City of Ottawa cut all our funds, $91,000 for 2023. We wrote a letter to the mayor and he investigated. The result was they reinstated us to the amount of $44,000.”
But the seniors’ centre is still losing more than half the funding it received from the city in 2022.
Abbotsford’s programs reach a diverse community, including LGBTQ seniors and those who live in subsidized housing and require extra support services, according to Blakely.
“The challenge is making up the money we’ve lost,” she said.
Back stronger with different options
Despite the funding shortfall for 2023, the centre has plans in place for the rest of 2022.
“We are offering more and more in-person classes. We’re also continuing with Zoom, since we’ve found some people like the ease of joining in from home.” said Pat Goyeche, coordinator of community programs at Abbotsford.
New this coming season is a Broadway dance class that will be taught by Mary Tsai, with whom Pat worked on numerous theatre productions at the Glebe Neighbourhood Activities Group over the years.
There will be “Get Smart” classes to help seniors figure out tricks and tips for using an iPhone. And for the first time in two and a half years, the pottery studio will be open for class and studio time.
“Our speaker series is full blast in the fall,” said Goyeche.
That series will include guest speaker Geoffrey Stevens who co-authored Flora MacDonald’s own story, Flora! A Woman in a Man’s World, which was published after her death.
There will also be a special travelogue session from Goyeche and her husband, Alex Neve, about their trip to Greenland and the Northwest Passage.
Annual bazaar replaced
In the past, folks from far and wide lined up outside Abbotsford House and crowded into every room inside to find bargains, baking and treasures at the annual bazaar. But in the wake of COVID, cramming inside small spaces is no longer prudent, so Abbotsford is hosting several smaller events at different venues to raise some dollars.
Other upcoming fundraising functions include Abbotsford’s Fine Finds: Art, Elegant Treasures and Jewels, to be held Saturday, October 1, from 2 to 5 p.m. Tickets are $20 each for this afternoon sale and gathering in support of programs.
And for those who still covet the crafts, baking and teddy bears well-known to former bazaar attendees, Abbotsford’s Craft Fair will take place at the centre on Saturday, November 26 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., complete with a tearoom.
New check-in and registration systems
A new automated check-in system called MySeniorCenter is now greeting everyone who visits Abbotsford. The large, user-friendly touch screen is installed near Reception.
The touch screen will prompt questions concerning COVID protocols and will help staff manage sign-up and sign-in information as well as take attendance.
A new registration system, which the membership fees helped purchase, now allows participants to register online, but those who prefer to register by phone still have that option.
For more information about the fundraising events or to donate please contact Bruce Hill at 613-238-2727 ext. 316 or via email at Bhill@glebecentre.ca.
Abbotsford is your seniors’ active living centre. We are the community programs of The Glebe Centre Inc., a charitable not-for-profit organization which includes a 254-bed long-term care home. Find out more about our services by dropping by 950 Bank Street (the old stone house) Mon-Fri 9-4 pm, phoning 613-230-5730 or by checking out all The Glebe Centre facilities and community programs on our website www.glebecentre.ca.
Julie Ireton is a journalist who contributes regularly to the Glebe Report on issues affecting Abbotsford.