INNISFAIL – Town council is providing a letter of support to the Innisfail Seniors Drop-In Centre in the Lundgren Centre to obtain a federal grant to purchase 100 new chairs.
The situation has become urgent as the chairs are in such a state of disrepair seniors are falling through them.
“The chairs are over 20 years old. They are falling apart. We've had a few seniors fall through the seats, which is just not safe. They're wearing down where there's no padding left, and they're not sanitary,” said Lucille Paquette-Lohmann, program coordinator at the drop-in centre. “When the senior fell through it was very upsetting to us.
“If you think of a 20-year-old chair that is used every day by our membership and by people who rent it it's kind of gross."
On Oct. 20 Paquette-Lohmann sent a letter to Mayor Jean Barclay and council asking for a letter of support for the drop-in centre’s application for a federal New Horizons for Seniors Program grant to purchase 100 new chairs.
The letter also said a new computer is needed at the drop-in centre as the current one is 10 years old and requires replacement with an upgraded version.
“They (drop-in centre) require a letter of support to be submitted with the grant application, and of course we're pleased to help them,” said Mayor Jean Barclay. “I think they certainly need new furniture in the long run, so let's hope they are successful in that process.”
Paquette-Lohmann said the costing and budget for the project has not yet been confirmed nor approved by the board of directors.
She added the grant application must be submitted by Nov. 1 and the drop-in centre won’t know until next March if the drop-in centre application is successful.
“We're not going for an expensive chair, but it has to be sturdy. It has to have arms to push themselves up. It has to be vinyl so we can wipe and sterilize,” said Paquette-Lohmann.
In the meantime, the drop-in centre is in “rebuilding” mode after losing many members from the shutdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The centre was shutdown for 15 months and reopened in July of 2021.
“We lost a lot of people. And now we're working really hard to get new people,” said Paquette-Lohmann, adding about 80 new paid members have since signed up.
She said the centre’s paid membership now stands at 235.