Response to the Mission Seniors Centre Association’s first-ever Senior Centre Occupational Survey has been brisk as more results continue to come in.
Respondents appear to be keen on volunteering their time as more than 76 per cent of those responding are looking for more information on volunteer work in Mission.
Almost half of the respondents to date are retired while other responders are working, looking for work or unable to work.
The survey which was created, with the help of The Mission Record, asks Mission residents aged 55 and over for information on their work experience, training and knowledge and their willingness to share it.
Areas of expertise is widespread including; managerial, medical, accounting, transportation, administration, event planning, fundraising, trades, education, public service, secretarial, computer graphics, geology and microbiologist.
The Mission Seniors Centre Association plans to build a database that can be used to help establish seniors-orientated programs and activities.
As an incentive to fill out the survey, the association – thanks to a donation from Ken Selvaraja of Lanka Jewels – will give one lucky respondent a one-ounce gold bar valued at approximately $1,450 (depending on the current price of gold).
The gold bar is on display at Lanka Jewels.
You must be 55 or over to take part, and be eligible for the gold.
“We want to get an idea of what skills seniors have out there in the community,” explained Bob Ingram, president of the association.
“I’ve always believed there are a large number of seniors who have retired and they have carried with them a great deal of expertise.”
It could be in management, trades, medical or anything, he explained.
And because the survey is local, Ingram said the information will be used strictly for the benefit of seniors in the community.
“One of the things we are doing is committing to not share that database or that information with any other agency or organization.”
He wants people to feel confident when they provide the information that it will remain confidential.
One of the questions on the survey asks people if they would volunteer their time and indicate how much they are willing to help.
“We want to use the expertise people have, to the limit they want to share.”
According to Ingram, it’s up to each individual how much help they provide. If people prefer to provide an hour a week or just be available upon request, or just provide information, it’s “strictly their call.”
The goal of the association is to create a new seniors’ centre in Mission.
A task force was struck several years ago and a report was sent to council recommending the construction of multi-generational centre that would serve the whole community, but would include specific spaces dedicated for seniors’ use.
Required features include a large meeting room that could be divided into three smaller rooms, a kitchen that offers a lunch program for seniors, but could also cater events held at the new centre, and a building that provides easy access.
“That’s what we would like to see built in Mission,” said Ingram.
A feasibility study is being conducted, and hopefully will be complete before summer.
“The council has been very supportive of the idea,” said Ingram.
The association already has $500,000 put aside to go towards the capital cost of the project, plus another $500,000 in trust. The interest earned from the trust will be used for operating costs for the centre.
The money came from the Marilyn Boswick Memorial Fund.
There are approximately 9,000 seniors living in Mission, and the association currently has 120 members.
To complete the survey, visit surveymonkey.com/s/MissionBC.