New Horizons for Seniors Program - Collective Impact approach

From Employment and Social Development Canada

Introduction of the Collective Impact approach

In May 2015, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) launched the New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) pan-Canadian projects Call for Proposals for fiscal year 2015 to 2016. This process aimed at addressing seniors’ social isolation using the Collective Impact approach. The program funded 9 impact plans that include 48 associated projects (each for 2 to 3 years). This was the first time ESDC implemented a program using the Collective Impact approach.

Collective Impact is a collaborative, multi-partner approach that brings together a group of collaborating organizations from different sectors to commit to a common agenda designed to produce significant changes in their community.

5 core conditions of the Collective Impact model

  1. Common agenda
    • A common agenda requires a shared vision for change that includes a common understanding of the problem, a joint approach involving agreed upon actions and a common set of outcomes. 
  2. Shared measurement
    • All participating organizations agree on the ways success will be measured and reported, with a short list of common indicators identified and used for learning and improvement.
  3. Mutually reinforcing activities
    • Collaborating organizations work as a team on coordinated actions that support each other. Mutually reinforcing activities ensure that each collaborator’s specific set of activities in which they excel are aligned towards achieving the common agenda and shared measures.
  4. Continuous communications
    • All players engage in frequent and structured open communication to build trust, assure mutual objectives, and create common motivation.
  5. Backbone
    • The backbone organization guides and supports the Collective Impact collaborating organizations as they work collectively to reach their common agenda.  The backbone leads the collection of data and develops shared measurement systems that serve the needs of the collaborative.  The backbone organization also leads communications and brings partners and key external stakeholders together to share information and seek opportunities for alignment with other community efforts.

NHSP Collective Impact plans funded following the fiscal year 2015 to 2016 Call for Proposals

Vancouver Collective Impact plan

The Vancouver “Allies in Aging” Collective Impact plan includes 4 funded projects. Family Services of the North Shore, funded as the backbone organization, is working in collaboration with the Burnaby Community Services, Burnaby Neighbourhood House and South Vancouver Neighbourhood Houses. Projects are aiming to reduce seniors’ social isolation through leadership development; outreach and connection to inclusive spaces, activities and resources; transportation initiatives, including policy change; and training for volunteers and service providers to better identify and work with seniors at risk.

Nanaimo Collective Impact plan

The Nanaimo “Seniors Connect” Collective Impact plan includes 5 funded projects. The Nanaimo Family Life Association, funded as the backbone organization, is working in collaboration with HealthWell, the City of Nanaimo, the Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation and the Nanaimo Women`s Resources Society to reduce seniors’ social isolation. Projects are: raising awareness of seniors’ isolation among service providers and the public; identifying and removing barriers to participation and inclusion to promote age-friendly environments in Nanaimo; and providing seniors with a place to socialize, participate in activities, and obtain information about services available in their community.

Edmonton Collective Impact plan

The Edmonton “Pan-Edmonton Group addressing Social Isolation of Seniors (PEGASIS)” Collective Impact plan includes 7 funded projects. The Edmonton Seniors Coordinating Council, funded as the backbone organization, is working in collaboration with the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers, the Edmonton Southside Primary Care Network, the Greater Edmonton Foundation – Seniors Housing, the Lifestyle Helping Hands Seniors Association, the Seniors Association of Great Edmonton and Westend Seniors Activity Centre. These organizations are working together to measurably reduce the social isolation of “low-resource” seniors in the Edmonton region. Projects are: providing on-demand transportation services; English as an additional language classes; community connectors; a seniors centre without walls; information and resources on services available; outreach and case-finding; and an awareness campaign.

Saskatchewan Collective Impact plan

The Saskatchewan "Reducing Isolation of Seniors" Collective Impact plan includes 4 funded projects. The Saskatchewan Seniors Mechanism, funded as the backbone organization, is working in collaboration with the Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan, the Canadian Red Cross and the University of Regina to reduce the social isolation of seniors in South and Central Saskatchewan. Projects are: developing age-friendly communities; reducing ageism and how seniors are portrayed in the media; raising awareness of older adult abuse; developing dementia-friendly communities and a dementia helpline; and providing a friendly visiting program.

Hamilton Collective Impact plan

The Hamilton “Seniors Isolation Population” Collective Impact plan includes 7 funded projects. The Hamilton Council on Aging, funded as the backbone organization, is working in collaboration with AbleLiving, St. Joseph’s Home Care, Hamilton Young Women’s Christian Organization (YWCA), Thrive Group Support Services, Wesley Urban Ministries and Gilbrea Centre for Studies in Aging to reduce seniors’ social isolation. Projects are: training local Peer Connectors to help isolated, low-income seniors, and reaching out to seniors leaving hospitals; developing a referral system that links all community support agencies to facilitate and increase referrals for seniors to needed local support services; and creating research tools to understand the most effective interventions to decrease the social isolation of seniors.

Ottawa Collective Impact plan

The Ottawa “Keeping Ottawa Seniors Connected (KOSC)” Collective Impact plan includes 7 funded projects. The Council on Aging of Ottawa, funded as the backbone organization, is working in collaboration with the Catholic Immigration Centre-Ottawa, Nepean, Rideau and Osgoode Community Resource Centre, Ottawa West Community Support, Social Planning Council of Ottawa, South-East Ottawa Community Health Centre, and Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre to reduce the rate of social isolation in Ottawa’s pre-senior (ages 55 to 64) and senior (age 65 and over) populations. KOSC focuses its efforts on those who face barriers to participation due to: low income, physical, mental, or cognitive disability, elder abuse, poor official language skills and rural residency. Projects are: identifying barriers to social inclusion and participation; identifying promising practices and ways of mitigating or dismantling systemic barriers; developing strategies, connecting seniors with the supports they need to overcome barriers; providing seniors with opportunities to socialize with their friends, families and communities; and empowering seniors to share their knowledge and skills.

Toronto Collective Impact plan

The Toronto "Enriches" Collective Impact plan includes 7 funded projects. The Sinai Health System Foundation of Toronto, funded as the backbone organization, is working in collaboration with the Alzheimer Society of Toronto, WoodGreen Community Services, Canadian Mental Health Association, North York Community House and The Reitman Centre at Sinai Health System to reduce seniors’ social isolation. Projects are: connecting caregivers 55+ to services and programs; developing strategic partnerships in the neighborhood; generating public awareness; sharing knowledge about social isolation such as risks for caregivers and the emotional impact of social isolation; and enhancing caregivers ability to connect with each other and develop caregiving skills.

Montreal Collective Impact plan

The Montreal Collective Impact plan includes 3 funded projects to reduce the proportion of seniors who are socially isolated, living in the Greater Montreal Metropolitan Area with a special focus on caregiver isolation, disorientation and social withdrawal. The Cummings Jewish Centre for Seniors, funded as the backbone organization, is working in collaboration with the Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux du Centre-Ouest-de-l'Île-de-Montréal (Jewish General Hospital) and the Canadian Caregiver Network to connect senior caregivers to their peers and to create informal and formal resources and supports. Projects include guiding caregivers through the healthcare system and social support networks over the course of disease management and post caregiving. As well, the Collective Impact plan includes the development of a digital/virtual environment that allows caregivers to make connections to others in similar situations based on their state and stage of caregiving.

Quebec Collective Impact plan

The “Collectif Aînés Isolement Social/Ville de Québec” Collective Impact plan includes 5 funded projects aimed at reducing the proportion of the most socially isolated seniors aged 65 and over in 11 sectors of Quebec City. The Institut sur le vieillissement et la participation sociale des aînés de l’Université Laval (IVPSA), funded as the backbone organization, is working in collaboration with Accès transports viables, Réseau québécois de Villes et Villages en santé, and Centre d’action bénévole de Contrefort. The Impact Plan seeks to identify and assist isolated seniors through door-to-door activities and by other measures aimed at reaching them in places they frequent, among other things. The Collectif also organizes workshops and conferences, as well as activities to foster social participation among seniors, assist with their transportation and encourage neighbours to lend a hand.

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