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An Idea Takes Root in Our Community
"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world."
After 2 years of ideas and discussion, the Victoria Community Health Co-operative began in 2007 as a Steering Committee consisting of medical doctors, health practitioners and community members who were passionate about creating a model of health care that embraced:
- Primary Health Care
- Integrative Medicine
- Community ownership, empowerment and control
- Co-operative values
The Steering Committee oversaw a variety of working groups based on the interest of community members who began to coalesce around this initiative:
- Health Education
- Birthing Center
- Health Practitioner collective
- Funding and fundraising
- Community Forum Committee
- Co-operative development
Beginning in the spring of 2007, the Steering Committee organized 5 community forums in different parts of the city in order to ask Victorians what was important to them with respect to their health and their health care. We heard many ideas and voices during those formative meetings, but most participants wanted to see greater access to different health and healing modalities; better access to education on health and wellness issues, including prevention and dis-ease management; and a greater sense of control in health care and services according to local community needs.
These values became the foundations for our Mission and Mandate.
Mark Sherman has been
instrumental in moving the
|The story board showed a visonary timeline of the co-operative's growth
and planned accomplishments.
Progress in 2008
2008 was a busy year. The Steering Committee and working groups continued to reach into our communities with health education events, community forums (in different parts of the city), and a Birthing Centre Initiative. On April 29, 2008, we incorporated as the Victoria Community Health Co-operative, the very first health co-operative in Victoria. Shortly afterward, at a community forum in Victoria West, we gained our first official co-op members. Shortly after, we began offering a health education series at Pacific Rim College in May; started collaborating with Central Middle School to create a Back to Basics Health curriculum for pre-teen students; and we gathered a health practitioner group of over 25 people interested in working together for community health education and service.
Our First AGM
The Victoria Community Health Co-operative gathered as members and interested public at Fairfield United Church on July 4, 2008 for our first General Meeting where our Board of Directors was acclaimed. In the year following, our first Board of 9 committed co-op members worked hard with other co-op members to create the programs and services that represented our collective vision.
2008-2009 -- Our Co-op Continues to Grow
In November of 2008, we opened our first Community Wellness Clinic to offer affordable Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) health services to our members. We ran these clinics out of Alembic Healing Arts Centre in Market Square with the generous support of Pacific Rim College and the volunteer services of our member practitioners.
Our Board continued to organize community forums in 2008 and 2009 in order to ensure we were hearing the voice of our community. We hired a Business Manager, Jenneke Van Hemert, in 2009 in order to help us develop our business plan towards an eventual health centre and increased health services. Ms. Van Hemert and our President Mark Sherman worked with local businesses such as Bob Mehr Pharmacies and The Good Planet Company, as well as Pacific Rim College, in order to create partnerships that would benefit our members and the broader community.
|Starting with three friends the co-operative, has grown to embrace a wide group of diverse people.|