Edson - Bringing services to those who need it
The Edson Connections event is a project put on by the Mcleod River Wellness Support Services and supported by all Primary Care Network staff. Connections began 3-4 years ago with the idea that everyone should have access to services that are accessed by all individuals in the community, even if they may not be able to access them on a regular basis. It brings all these services under one roof for accessibility, and provides an opportunity for social connection and interaction.
The Primary Care Network was interested in targeting those who are homeless, at risk of homelessness or who face medical and financial barriers without the ability to access all services in Edson. The idea is that vital services can be provided, along with special services such as nail care and hair cuts, which allow people to feel included and connected. Services such as massage, eye care, public health (nurses), haircuts, foot care, waxing/threading and manicures were among those provided at Connections. Along with these services a catered meal was provided, and all participants received a tote which they could fill full of toiletries, food products and door prizes. Agencies and organizations from our area such as Options HIV West Yellowhead, Yellowhead Emergency Shelter, Edson Friendship Centre, Town of Edson and many other volunteers contribute in-kind and through monetary donations. The local high school baked over 150 muffins for the participants of the Connections event, and included notes with each muffin with phrases such as "keep going" and "never give up". This event allows those who normally would not be able to access special services to feel special and connected for the day.
The goal of the Connections event is to provide hope and an uplifting day for those who may struggle on a day to day basis and do not have access to a variety of services. This year, year 3, saw the largest turnout of participants, with over 120 individuals registering and attending the event. The services available at the event were utilized by all participants, busy all day with a steady flow of traffic. Cake was served to celebrate the connections formed at the event. Through this event the Primary Care Network confirms the idea that all individuals need connection and inclusion. The community comes together to uplift and support the lives of many during this event.