The Golden Community Co-op has created a new position specifically geared towards helping the community navigate COVID-19 and the relief measures that have been rolled out by all three levels of government.
The position, officially titled Community Covid-19 Response Coordinator, was filled by Lori Baxendale, who took over the role on April 7. While she’s just over two weeks into her new position she said she has been busy with research and dissecting all the information available, while fielding calls and emails from concerned locals.
“COVID hit and it started changing our lives so dramatically and quickly, it was immediately recognized that there was a need for a position in the community that locals could reach out to when they were overwhelmed or confused,” said Baxendale.
“When people are feeling pressure and stress in their life and are having difficulty sorting through all the information, they can reach out to me for some hand-holding and support and I’ll help with navigating through this situation.”
The new position is funded by the Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) through their social response initiative. The program is funding similar community response positions in different municipalities throughout the basin.
While it’s funded through the CBT, the position operates under the umbrella of the co-op to give a community-specific response.
The idea behind the position is to make information more navigable and to streamline the process to a single point of contact in a community, instead of having multiple browser tabs open as people individually try to wade through a sea of COVID-19 information online.
“To help them work through it and hear the relief in their voice when we’re able to help answer their questions or point them in the right direction for their next steps is so rewarding,” said Baxendale.
Baxendale is also helping local businesses looking to navigate federal wage subsidies.
As far as information goes, Baxendale explained both the provincial and federal governments have provided easy to use resources. The main problem is getting the information out there and letting people know that these resources are available, including getting the word out on her new position.
“We want them to know that they have someone to turn to and ensuring that we’re staying on top of all the new information,” said Baxendale.
For those looking to get in contact with Baxendale as they navigate COVID-19, she can be contacted through the co-op Facebook page, as well as by email, phone and Whatsapp.
Baxendale’s phone number is 250-344-3111 and the email is firstname.lastname@example.org.