Donors spark Island-wide service directory

United Way is launching bc211, an Island-wide online source of information on community, non-clinical health and government services

Oak Bay’s Mel Cooper

Residents looking for services for basic human needs, health care and youth assistance will soon have a single place to turn.

United Way Greater Victoria announced an April launch of bc211, an Island-wide online source of information on community, non-clinical health and government services, followed by telephone and text access to the service later in the year.

To help get 211 on the Island, United Way received $80,000 Nov. 14 from donors John and Catherine Windsor, of de Vine Vineyard, and the TELUS Victoria Community Board.

The Windsors say the 211 service will help people find resources they might not otherwise know about. They are supporting the program to the tune of $40,000 each year for the next three years.

“Cathy looked after our aging parents, both of whom had different health challenges. Only after (they died) did we discover more services and support that we didn’t know about. We didn’t know those services were out there,” John said.

Under the United Way’s 211 proposal, the free, online  database of resources will also offer confidential live web chat capabilities and mobile device support. The service has been available in Greater Vancouver since 2010.

“This service can help re-direct calls that would have gone to 911 and take some of the pressure off there,”  said UWGV executive director Patricia Jelinski.

United Way and Black Press are spreading the word about bc211 throughout Black Press’ network of community newspapers and websites across B.C. To learn more or contribute to bringing bc211 to the Island, visit www.uwgv.org or call 250-220-7365.