BY KALISHA MENDONSA
Representatives from approximately 40 Central Alberta organizations met this week at the Lacombe Memorial Centre for the monthly Inter-agency meeting – one of the largest meetings to have been held so far.
The Inter-agency meetings are hosted by Lacombe & District FCSS and are open to all members of the community. They provide a monthly platform for groups to meet and discuss their current happenings with other agencies in the region.
The meetings are free to attend and address a wide variety of needs in the community, making it a fantastic networking group to consider, organizers say.
“You may be looking for a resource on a particular service or want to find out who to chat with about something. When we go to these meetings, we always come away with meeting somebody new and information on a new resource,” said Susan MacDonald, executive director of Lacombe FCSS.
“It’s amazing to see all of the programs and services we have in our community and in Central Alberta,” she added.
Although many of the agencies in the group have their offices in Red Deer, the meetings take place in Lacombe and have members working in various communities including Blackfalds, Alix, Lacombe, Clive, Bentley and more.
The meetings are open to anyone who feels they might want to create connections in the fields of social work, education, community or economic development, age-specific programming or health services.
There are always new groups who are attending the meetings to spread their work and develop resources.
“There are many different people around the table who serve in a number of positions,” MacDonald said.
“One of the ones I noticed was a lady who worked with Addictions Services. She mentioned that her position used to be a twice-a-week position, and it has now grown to almost full-time, working nine out of 10. That’s also focused here in Lacombe now, and that means there is more access here in Lacombe for people to access that service.”
“Another program I found interesting was the Central Alberta Continuing Care program, which works in seniors’ lodges and other places where people need continued care. Those were new things for me that I noticed and look forward to learning about more.”
MacDonald said the Inter-agency meetings are incredibly helpful within the greater community due to the variety of attendees and programs brought to light.
There were representatives from children and baby programs, to youth workers, adult programs and information for seniors.
The topics of discussion range from fundraising activities, new programs and even municipal engagement opportunities such as volunteering and employment.
As well, there is information on social programs, education, employment training, city/town programs and various other events in Central Alberta.
“This is particularly helpful to agencies like FCSS that provide a range of programs across the board in terms of age or service topic. That could be health, employment services or even special need services – it really reaches a wide population of the community,” MacDonald said.
In order to plan for capacity and refreshments, those interested in attending must call Lacombe and District FCSS to RSVP prior to the events, which take place on the first Tuesday of each month in the Servus Credit Room at the LMC.