Abbotsford will be “open” for business in September!

Abbotsford staff will welcome double-vaccinated seniors in person in September, with all due COVID precautions in place. From left: Kirsten O’Brien (Community Support Services), Elleni Adane (Reception), Jane Stallabrass (Community Support Services) and Pat Goyeche (Coordinator of Community Programming)   Photo: Bruce Hill

By Pat Goyeche

It is time to open up Abbotsford, your seniors’ active living centre, to our members, volunteers and friends. The doors won’t be wide open but there will certainly be a warm welcome as we begin to offer some in-person classes and programming this September.

We want to thank everyone in our Abbotsford community for all the support you have offered by joining up, calling in and supporting us financially during this lengthy lockdown. During that time, we have made new connections, enhanced old connections and are all the stronger for it.

For many, “opening up” is long overdue and for others, the new normal might feel intimidating. Rest assured, we will proceed at a cautious pace, responding to the needs of our community and respecting the need to be careful and safe.

Some of our clubs, fitness classes, art classes and general programming and services for those 55+ will be held on site at Abbotsford, starting in early September. We will do so at reduced capacity with COVID protocols in place to ensure everyone’s safety and wellbeing.

Many of our courses will continue to be offered virtually as we slowly transition safely into more in-person programming for the general membership and for those enrolled in our specialized day programming.

Virtual programming through Zoom has become a staple for many of our clients and members and we will continue to offer this, not only in the fall but throughout the year(s) to come. Our teleconferencing programming will also continue.

The population we serve has been among the most vulnerable cohort when it comes to the negative consequences of COVID-19. That is why, as we open up, we do so with an abundance of caution and care for those we serve.

We ask that only those who are double vaccinated against COVID-19 enrol for the in-person programming on site at Abbotsford. All staff and volunteers are expected to meet this same standard, with the goal of creating a safe, welcoming space for everyone.

For those attending in-person programming, you will note many new protocols including COVID screening at the door, wearing a mask, physical distancing, time-spacing between classes, ‘In’ and ‘Out’ doors for both the dining room and multipurpose room, as well as new signage to remind us of proper hygiene standards that we will all work to meet collectively. Hand sanitizer is our friend and you’ll find it “handy” wherever you look!

Big Blow-out Sale

Please come to our BIG BLOW-OUT EVERYTHING MUST GO SALE on Saturday, August 28 in the Abbotsford parking lot on Bank Street. We had accumulated wonderful donations by the time we went into lockdown last year and now is our chance to share and fundraise with these fabulous items. We will be selling books, women’s clothing, art and plenty of practical and whimsical treasures all day long (9 a.m.–3 p.m.).  Shop ’till you drop and help fundraise for Abbotsford programs and services.

Many have asked when we might once again be able to accept donations of items. Unfortunately we will not be able to do so until early 2022. We do not have the capacity or space to accept, sort and price goods but we hope to be able to resume the collection of donations early next year. The only exceptions to this are women’s clothing in good condition for our Dorothy’s Boutique, as well as jewellery. We can take these items starting the first week of September. We thank you for your generosity and certainly for your understanding. We do realize this means you may have to consider donating some items to other charities.

We will continue to make further changes to our physical environment and operations in keeping with recommendations from Ottawa Public Health, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Seniors and Accessibility, the Glebe Centre’s Manager of Infection Control, best practices from our community sector and our funders. We are confident that we will have the highest standards of safety in place and hope that you will feel safe coming back to Abbotsford House as we begin to re-open our building for clients and members in September 2021. Welcome back!

Abbotsford is your community Seniors Active Living Centre. We are the community programs and services of The Glebe Centre Inc., a charitable, not-for-profit, organization that includes a 254-bed long-term care home. Find out more about us by telephoning 613-230-5730 or by checking out all of The Glebe Centre facilities and community programs on our website

Pat Goyeche is coordinator of community programming at Abbotsford House.

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