History of Voices of Burnaby Seniors (VOBS)
In 2006 with funding from the federal New Horizons for Seniors Program, over six hundred Burnaby seniors were surveyed about their needs with regard to housing, transportation, support services, healthy living and social connections. The results are in a report called "Voices of Burnaby Seniors - A Survey of Burnaby Citizens 55 years and Older."
With those findings in mind, the community-based Voices of Burnaby Seniors (VOBS) Task Force initiated forums, presentations and formation of effective working groups to address issues identified in the needs survey. Advocacy work has addressed healthcare, veterans' services, TaxiSaver, HandyDART, B.C Ombudsperson's Recommendations, flu clinics, B.C. Seniors' Guide and sector funding losses.
In November 2019, the Voices of Burnaby Seniors Society (VOBSS) was registered as a non-profit society.
Completed Activities and Projects
VOBS Community Resource Cards
In partnership with Burnaby Community Services (formerly Burnaby Community Connections), we have developed Community Resource Cards for seniors. These are distributed by the Outreach Worker, the Ambassadors, VOBS members and people who work with seniors. The cards provide contact information for many community resources and are available in English, Chinese, Punjabi and Japanese.
Seniors Ambassador Program
With United Way Funding and in partnership with Burnaby Neighborhood House (formerly South Burnaby Neighborhood House), VOBS developed a Seniors Outreach Worker and Senior Outreach Ambassador Program. Ambassadors work to connect isolated or at risk seniors with services and programs. The Ambassadors are volunteers, among whom approximately fifteen languages are spoken.
Door-2-Door (D2D) Bus Business Plan
Travel Smart for Seniors Transit Training Program
VOBS worked with TransLink to develop and deliver a program called Travel Smart for Seniors. Developed to assist seniors who are not familiar with TransLink (buses, Skytrain and Sea bus), it was designed to help them feel capable, safe and confident when using the transit system. Trained seniors presented the sessions.
Agency Networking Events
Hundreds of Burnaby seniors have participated in our educational events on a variety of topics related to transportation, health, safety and financial security. These workshops help alert and advise seniors about issues that affect them.
Safety Superheroes Fall Prevention
VOBS members worked with Burnaby Fall Prevention Society's "Safe for Seniors, Safe for All" project, a partnership with Fraser Health Authority and the Burnaby School District, funded by the Federal New Horizons for Seniors Program. Using "Safety Superheroes" materials provided by Fraser Health, trained senior volunteers presented the program in 62 classrooms at nine Burnaby elementary schools, teaching 1300 students fall prevention strategies to use at home, i.e., to "fall-proof" their homes for the safety of the seniors who live or visit there.
Burnaby Better at Home Community Development
Burnaby Seniors Dialogues
With funding from the Union of B.C. Municipalities, VOBS and the City of Burnaby undertook Pedestrian Audits of the Edmonds shopping area, a part of the city with a significant population of seniors and people with mobility challenges and Cascade Heights, working with senior students from Cascade Heights Elementary School.The "auditors" (seniors and others with mobility issues and City Planning staff) noted such factors as uneven pavement, presence and condition of sidewalks, timing of lights, presence of benches, location and condition of bus shelters, lighting, etc. This audit information will be used by the City's Planning Department.