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LETTER: Restore Guelph's Community Support Services for seniors

A Guelphite writes about her concerns with the abandonment of social service programs for seniors
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GuelphToday has received the following letter from concerned Guelphite Rebecca Fiedler who is distressed by Guelph Wellington Seniors Association's abandonment of the Community Support Services programs.

My husband and I moved to Guelph, from the US, about two years ago. We wanted to get away from the cruelty of American politicians who seem always to be defunding programs designed to help the poor, marginalized and vulnerable.

Imagine our despair when we learned that the Guelph Wellington Seniors Association (GWSA) Board of Directors decided to walk away from their commitment to the worthy programs of Community Support Services (CSS): nutrition education, home & group exercise; outreach programs for seniors having transportation difficulties; a telephone visiting program for seniors; and education lectures on a wide array of topics in which seniors are interested.

GWSA has been providing these services for almost 20 years and identifies these specific programs to the Canada Revenue Agency as the basis for their charitable status.

Why would they walk away from these programs now? Two years remain of a three-year funding commitment from the United Way so it’s not a funding problem motivating them. Two of their employees are planning to leave for personal reasons. Those employees are important to the program but they are certainly not irreplaceable. It can’t be a staffing problem.

Younger Guelphites might be forgiven for thinking this loss won’t impact them. However, one of the services CSS offers is to help seniors get access to the most appropriate health and community support programs.

If your parent or grandparent needs this type of help, the knowledgeable CSS staff is just a phone call away. Or, it will be if enough people write to the GWSA Board urging them to keep this successful program intact!

We live in the Royal City and we should recognize the CSS Program as one of our unique treasures. Please join me in demanding the GWSA Board restore CSS to the community asset it has been for so long! Send an email to!

Rebecca Fiedler