Reprinted from The Alberni Valley News, 17 July 2019
Article and photos by Elena Rardon
The foundation responsible for fundraising for the West Coast General Hospital (WCGH) will soon take Westhaven under its wing.
Westhaven Multi Level Care is a long-term senior care facility located on the WCGH grounds. The Friends of Westhaven Society was formed in 2006 with the goal of providing additional service and fundraising activities to support the residents and staff of the facility, which led to initiatives like a community garden for the facility.
However, the Friends of Westhaven announced that it was dissolving earlier this year, and the society approached the WCGH Foundation about stepping in to fill this gap.
“Once the Friends of Westhaven was gone, then there wouldn’t be a charitable organization to accept donations for Westhaven and provide tax deductible receipts,” said Carol Chipman, president of the WCGH Foundation board. “It seemed like a natural fit for us.”
Kim Love, the clinical nurse lead at Westhaven, explained that the Foundation will be fundraising for things that enhance resident care and quality of life—items such as medical carts and tables and chairs that are adaptable for people with mobility issues.
“It will help give us a better environment for the residents,” Love added.
Although Westhaven is attached to the hospital and operated by Island Health, it is a standalone care facility, separate from the hospital with an entirely separate budget.
“The Friends of Westhaven was a small group of volunteers,” said Love. “They worked really hard, but they didn’t have the resources of a group like the Foundation.
“[The Foundation] is able to give us a little more public eye, and better overall support,” she added. “It feels like this has made us more a part of the hospital and the community.”
Chipman says that the transition between the Friends and the Foundation, which started in June, has been “very cooperative and friendly.”
“The Foundation is really happy to be able to support Westhaven,” she said. “We’re excited and happy to continue the good work that the Friends of Westhaven has done. We’re honoured to be able to pick up where they left off. And we hope donors will be excited, too.”
Donors to the WCGH Foundation will be able to specify whether they want their funding going towards Westhaven or the hospital. For more information about the Foundation, or to make a donation, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-731-1370, ext. 48148.