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City of Richmond highlights commitment to a healthy and thriving community in Strategy Progress Update

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 3:57 PDT, Thu June 13, 2024

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Increased activity, healthier eating habits and a desire for even more opportunities for social connections are just some of the highlights of the Richmond Community Wellness Strategy – Progress Update 2022-2023.

The Progress Update offers examples of accomplishments and success stories that illustrate the Community Wellness Strategy's impact over the past two years. Launched in 2018, the strategy outlines a collaborative action plan developed in partnership with Vancouver Coastal Health and Richmond School District No. 38 to improve wellness and strive towards the vision for an active, caring, connected, healthy and thriving Richmond.

Among the examples of changes in activity and their impact are:

  • Participants in the annual Go By Bike Week logged 2,139 trips in 2023 – a 21 per cent increase from the previous year – thanks to Richmond’s network of over 87 kilometres of designated on and off street bike routes.
  • There were almost 1.8 million drop-in visits to city and association recreation facilities in 2023, a jump of 27.6 per cent. More than 56,500 individuals made use of those same facilities, an increase of almost nine per cent from the previous year.
  • Richmond residents logged over 9.7 million minutes of physical activity in June 2022 and 11.7 million minutes in June 2023 for the annual ParticipACTION Community Challenge. This made Richmond British Columbia’s Most Active Community in 2022 and highlighted Council’s commitment to promoting active lifestyles.
  • A food research pilot in east Richmond provided fresh produce to residents requiring support for health conditions and other factors, resulting in 80 per cent of participants consuming more fresh fruit and vegetables than before. Over 70 per cent said the program improved their physical health, and 47 per cent experienced a positive impact in their mental health.
  • Just over 47 per cent of Richmond respondents to a provincial survey said urban outdoor spaces are important to them, reinforcing the value of the city’s current network of 140 parks and 135 kilometres of trails.

A variety of programs, services and activities were launched throughout Richmond in 2022-2023 to encourage participation and improve physical and mental health and wellbeing. Highlights include:

  • Neighbourhood Celebration Grant Program: 128 applicants received almost $154,000 in City-funded grants to support opportunities for community connection including 28 school events, 33 block parties and 67 community events.
  • Feeding Futures Funding: Starting in 2023, the Ministry of Education and Child Care provided Feeding Futures funding to expand breakfast, lunch, and snack programs in Richmond School District No. 38, in collaboration with a number of community partners.
  • Friendship Tea: This volunteer-led group of Cantonese and Mandarin speakers from the Broadmoor and Ironwood neighbourhoods connects 50 to 60 people weekly to promote social interaction and provide access to various city programs and services.
  • Community Mural Program: Ten new murals were created and installed at locations such as the City’s two outdoor pools, elementary and secondary schools, and businesses, as part of this program that encourages local artists to create engaging public spaces and fosters social connections.
  • Social Prescribing Program: Launched in October 2022 by the Richmond Primary Care Network, this program connected individuals to community supports for improving physical and mental health, emotional wellbeing and social connections through referrals from healthcare providers.
  • Library Champions Project: This Richmond Public Library initiative to welcome and engage newcomers through local libraries has helped over 13,350 individuals integrate into the community and access resources.
  • Cycling Network Plan: Council adopted the updated Cycling Network Plan that provides as implementation strategy over a 15-year period to enhance cycling infrastructure and safety, and will help to ensure that the city’s neighbourhoods accommodate a range of uses with convenient access to jobs, services and recreation
  • 55+ Activate! Wellness Fair: Returning to an in-person format in June 2023, this biennial event drew over 500 people and featured over 40 vendor booths, educational workshops on topics such as caregiver self-care and physical activity for seniors, activity demonstrations, free blood pressure checks and presentations on positive aging.

These and the other initiatives outlined in the Richmond Community Wellness Strategy – Progress Update 2022-2023 are the result of ongoing partnerships between the City of Richmond, Vancouver Coastal Health and Richmond School District No. 38. As the Wellness Strategy implementation continues through 2025, the partners remain committed to providing Richmond residents with opportunities to improve their health and well-being. 

The report, along with a highlight video, is at richmond.ca/wellness.

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