New Horizons for Seniors Program impacts 26 local charities

Kelowna, BC (June 2, 2020) – In our region, approximately 20% of seniors live in poverty or isolation and are at greater risk of poor health outcomes due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. With that and other vulnerable populations in mind, the United Way launched the COVID-19 Relief Fund in early April. With the influx of federal funding through the New Horizons for Seniors Program, United Way was able to invest over $173,000 that will directly impact seniors and make sure they have what they need to stay healthy and connected.

“It is our collective responsibility to come together to support our neighbours who may require support; and this is even more important during a time of crisis where the impact of vulnerabilities are heightened and deepened,” says Kahir Lalji, Executive Director of United Way SIBC. “We are proud to partner with the Government of Canada to support seniors through our community based partners in the Southern Interior of British Columbia.”

Lalji adds, “Loneliness, isolation, food insecurity, access to medication and essential non-medical program adjustments are some of the examples these investments will support.”

The Honorable Deb Schulte, Minister of Seniors adds, “While physical distancing is essential to protecting seniors from COVID-19, it risks isolating them from their community. That is why the Government of Canada is proud to work with United Way Canada to help support the needs of seniors during this difficult time. By using local expertise, this funding will help provide support tailored to the unique, local needs of seniors across the country. As we work together to flatten the curve and slow the spread of the virus, the government is supporting Canadians every step of the way.”

The following local charities and programs received grants as part of our COVID-19 Relief Fund:

  • BrainTrust Canada
  • CMHA – Kelowna
  • CMHA – South Okanagan Similkameen
  • CMHA – Vernon
  • Community Connections (Revelstoke) Society
  • Community Dental Access Centre
  • Community Recreational Initiatives Society (CRIS Adaptive)
  • Connect Counselling & Therapy Society (Kelowna)
  • Desert Sun Counselling & Resource Centre Society
  • Enderby & District Community Resource Centre
  • Good Food Box North Okanagan
  • Independent Living Vernon
  • Kelowna Community Resources Society
  • Kelowna Gospel Mission Dental Clinic



For more information about the United Way COVID-19 Response and Recovery program, visit:

For funding opportunities, visit:

About the New Horizons for Seniors Program

The New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) provides grants and contributions for projects that help improve the well-being of seniors and foster their social inclusion. To provide immediate essential services to seniors impacted by COVID-19, the Government of Canada is providing $9 million under the NHSP to be distributed through United Way Canada network. These funds will help organizations providing support to seniors dealing with the impact of COVID-19.

About United Way SIBC: The United Way mission is to improve lives and build community by engaging individuals and mobilizing collective action. For nearly 70 years, we’ve been working to create opportunities for a better life for everyone in the Okanagan, Columbia, Shuswap and Similkameen. Every dollar raised stays in our community and touches the lives of over 85,000 vulnerable children, families and seniors every year. For more info, visit:

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Media Contacts:

Kahir Lalji, Executive Director

United Way Southern Interior BC