Interest in establishing a Seniors’ Centre runs high

By Heather Walters

ABOUT 75 seniors took time Thursday afternoon to attend a session at Lighthouse Theatre’s upstairs lounge to hear what Adam Veri was proposing for a local seniors’ centre.
Mr. Veri, project director for Barber and Veri Marketing and Development, called the meeting to see if there was interest in the community to further research the possibility of establishing a senior centre in Port Dover and to determine what seniors would be looking for in such a centre.
“I expected I would be sitting down at one of these tables with five or six people and a cup of coffee,” he stated. “I am delighted to see such an interest in this project.”
Port Dover already has a very active seniors’ population, but programs and venues are scattered throughout the town. The idea would be to locate activities in one building and go forward from there.
Input from the gathering was forthcoming and fairly specific. Mr. Veri took notes, jotting down ideas for services and activities seniors stated they would like to see included in the development.
Among the expectations included an exercise and yoga area, craft and woodworking studio and a drop-in coffee centre were high on the list.
Membership price range was discussed, as well as potential services, the type of guest speakers and educational classes people would like to see as part of a curriculum. Though the general consensus was to have a seniors’ centre open and available seven days a week, an early plan may involve a scaled down version of ‘the dream centre’ with intention to grow as membership dictates.
“We won’t have everything right away,” he stated “but we won’t have anything if we don’t start.” Mr. Veri indicated he would look into funding assistance at both the provincial and federal levels.
“We’ve got the people,” one senior stated. “All we need is a space to make our own.”
Many comparisons to the Simcoe Seniors Centre were drawn, noting that Norfolk County provides part funding for the upkeep of the aging facility. Port Dover residents recognized that initially, they may have to settle for temporary lodgings in an existing building.
“Social isolation is problematic for seniors,” stated another senior “especially in winter. Having a facility in our own town would really be advantageous.”
Mr. Veri closed the preliminary meeting on a positive note, stating that it was quite obvious that interest in pursuing such a project is high.
There are plans to meet again in the new year to further expand on ideas raised so far.
Anyone wishing to weigh in on the conversation can do so by contacting Adam Veri by email — averi@barberveri.com

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