Vancouver Island getting 211 service in 2017

Central Saanich couple, TELUS give boost to Island-wide United Way campaign for health and social services resource.

Mel Cooper

Seniors, families and individuals looking for services for basic human needs, health care and youth assistance will soon have a single place to turn to on Vancouver Island.

United Way Greater Victoria says it will launch bc211 in April, 2017 — an online and Island-wide source of information on community, non-clinical health and government services — followed by telephone and text access to the service later next year.

To help get 211 on the Island, the United Way has received $80,000 from donors John and  Catherine Windsor of Central Saanich and the TELUS Victoria Community Board. The announced donations came on Monday, Nov. 14 at the Windsors’ de Vine Vineyard in Central Saanich.

For the Windsors, 211 service is needed to help people find resources they might not otherwise know about. They are supporting the program to the tune of $40,000 each year for the next three years.

“In our experience,” said John, “Cathy looked after our aging parents, both of whom had different health challenges. Only after (they died) did we discover more services and support that we didn’t know about. We didn’t know those services were out there.”

John added many people have the same issue — not knowing about services that already exist, but aren’t made readily available.

Under the United Way’s 211 proposal for the Island, there will be a database of such services compiled in an online resource site, accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week, complete with live web chat capabilities and mobile device support. The service will be confidential and free to users. The 211 service has been available in Greater Vancouver since 2010 and plenty of other places in North America, but not Vancouver Island.

United Way Greater Victoria Executive Director Patricia Jelinski said the online directory is being built in anticipation of the April 2017 launch and they are raising money to meet their $1.2 million goal. She added they hope to add the telephone and text option to the service approximately three months later.

“This service can help re-direct calls that would have gone to 911 and take some of the pressure off there,” said Jelinski. “It would even become a potential resource for the police.”

She said 211 helps answer the community’s call for help when the need arises. Similar programs have helped people during the floods in southern Alberta and following the forest fires in Fort MacMurray.

“We believe this is an important service,” sad Mel Cooper, Chair of the TELUS Victoria Community Board. “The bc211 service connects … youth and residents with valuable social services close to home.”

Helping spread the word about bc211 on the Island and across the province, the United Way and Black Press have agreed to work together. Information about bc211 will be shared throughout Black Press’ network of community newspapers and websites across B.C.

To learn more, or to contribute to bringing bc211 to Vancouver Island, visit uwgv.org or call the United Way’s Director of Philanthropy at 250-220-7365.

Just Posted

Alex Cuba returns to the Mary Winspear

Alex Cuba, who lives in Smithers, B.C., has been writing a lot… Continue reading

Residents want North Saanich bike lane revamped

Claim lack of transparency; little public input on West Saanich Road project

World Rowing Coastal Championships coming to Sidney

Event will make its Canadian and North America debut in October

Outdoor pot growing will be legal, but will producers bite?

With Canada’s marijuana legalization laws slated for July 1, 2018, there continue… Continue reading

WATCH: Vancouver Island man catches dashcam video of near head-on crash

Video shows oncoming van cross over centre line

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

B.C. files new legal action against TransMountain pipeline

Province tries to uphold City of Burnaby bylaws, provoking Alberta

BCHL Today: Powell River stuns Vernon and BCHL grads lead Team Canada

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Reports of money laundering in B.C. real estate ‘troubling’: attorney general

News report alleges people connected to fentanyl trade are using B.C. real estate to launder money

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: Two more medals for Canada, and men’s hockey loss

Team Canada shines on the speed skating track, but fall short against the Czechs in hockey

Air ambulance used parking lot for patient transfer because it was most efficient option

Lack of certification for helipad at Comox Valley Hospital not a factor in decision

RCMP member challenges court to prevent further disciplinary action

RCMP member launches appeal to avoid new hearing over alleged harassment

Port of Vancouver program examines impact of marine noise on local whales

Man-made noises can interfere with orcas’ ability to hunt and communicate with other pod members

Most Read