Ontario Hydro announced on February 24 that they were awarding twenty five grants for $25,000 through the Energizing Life Community Fund to groups that are trying to make significant changes in their communities.
The announcement was made on the farm of Huron County Warden Glen McNeil, and a grant was presented to the Gateway Centre for Excellence in Rural Health for their S.H.E.D Talks, or Sustaining Healthy Farms Through Empowerment and Dedication program.
“S.H.E.D. Talks is a program that was founded by Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health. It's really aimed to target and alleviate some of the daily stressors that the farmers undergo and really target that isolation piece and just bring them together and allow them to build connections and support one another," said Project Lead Becky Higgs
Higgs says one of their challenges is helping people outside of the farming community understand some of the issues.
“I think that's definitely a challenge. I think it's very difficult looking in to a farm on the outside to really see the deep stressers that farmers undergo. They are quite unique and very challenging for a farmer. So I think that that's definitely one of the challenges," Higgs shared.
Higgs notes one of the goals of the program is to provide farmers with the tools they need to eventually continue the program on their own and find better ways to support and appreciate our farmers.
Ontario Hydro Vice President of Marketing and Communications Jay Armitage says the Energizing Life Community Fund was created for a specific purpose.
“We created the Energizing Life Community Fund to really recognize and support local communities who are pushing for powerful change within their communities. So we announced twenty-five grants across the province and we did it with one of our recipients, which is Gateway," Armitage explained.