In rural areas, many good ideas are launched around kitchen tables, and so it was with the North Wellington Seniors Council. In the fall of 1991, people gave serious consideration to starting an organization that would bring together representatives from seniors groups in north Wellington to address the needs and concerns of rural seniors in the area; individuals who are often under-serviced compared to those in urban areas.
The first meeting was held in January 1992, and the North Wellington Seniors Council has met almost every month since then. Many programs and services have come from that meeting.
There have been educational forums with guest speakers, “inter-generational” variety shows, and other special projects. Networking is part of those monthly meetings, along with presentations from agencies that work with seniors. The CReATE project, started with Trillium Foundation funding in 1997, launched many projects: volunteer transportation services, computer clubs, local community action groups like the one in Clifford that set up a weekly coffee hour and bi-weekly cards night, as well as the one in Palmerston that completed a local history project with grade 5 students as part of the International Year of Older Persons.
Work was done on health care, in cooperation with local agencies, including bringing hospice palliative care services to the north, and meetings of the Rural Health Integration Group, initiated by the North Wellington Seniors Council. Accessibility awards were given to local businesses and facilities for their efforts. There were also Trillium-funded history and nature walks in the summer of 2003. More recently, there were yearlong cooking and gardening projects, in part funded through the New Horizons for Seniors federal grant program.
The seniors council became an agency of the United Way of Guelph and Wellington County in 2007, and that affiliation gave the group a good base of support to carry on its work for seniors. In June 2011 a 5th anniversary barbecue was held to celebrate the seniors exercise program initiated in Arthur and Harriston in 2006.