Bell Let’s Talk donates $25,000 to Children’s Health Foundation

BellThe day before Bell Let’s Talk again reignited the conversation around mental health, the organization stepped up to help support the reduction of wait times for child and adolescent seeking support service.

On Jan. 26, Bell Let’s Talk presented Children’s Health Foundation with a $25,000 grant from the 2015 Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund to support the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Care Program (CAMHCP) at Children’s Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC).

The funds will be used to help reduce wait times for mental health services for children and their families across southwestern Ontario.

“We can’t thank Bell enough for recognizing the importance of caring for the whole child,” said Susan Crowley, president and CEO, Children’s Health Foundation. “Our community of mental health care donors is supporting an initiative that will have far-reaching positive impacts on the national landscape of kids’ mental health, transforming the lives of innumerable families by giving them newfound hope for a brighter tomorrow.”

Wait times for pediatric mental health services are a top concern of mental health care providers, as lengthy wait times prolong child and family suffering, and may also lead to decreased engagement in treatment, treatment dropout and negative long-term outcomes for young people.

“Bell Let’s Talk is very proud to support Children’s Health Foundation and the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Care Program,” said Mary Deacon, chair of Bell Let’s Talk. “The Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund supported 55 organizations in 2015, in every region of the country, all of which are making a difference in the lives of people living with mental illness, and the family and friends who support them. Over the last five years, the Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund has invested more than $5 million in hundreds of community programs and services that improve access to mental health care.”

Adolescence is considered by many professionals to be a critical period for the development of mental health issues with as many as 20 percent of Canadian adolescents will experience a mental health disorder.

Suicide is among the leading causes of death among Canadians ages 15-24, but only one in five young people who require mental health care will receive it.

Researchers and clinicians at Children’s Hospital are developing and evaluating innovative strategies to reduce wait times for services and increase the number of patients being served.

The strategies include developing e-mental health tools to support patients while they wait for services, offering group therapy models that are proven to effectively meet the needs of greater numbers of patients, and improving patient prioritization using a more accurate and resource effective strategy to evaluate urgency.

Bell Let’s Talk Day

The 6th annual Bell Let’s Talk Day is Wednesday, Jan. 27.

For every text message, wireless and long distance call made by Bell customers, or for every tweet using #BellLetsTalk, and every Facebook share of the Bell Let’s Talk Day image at, Bell will donate five cents to support Canadian mental health programs.

Bell’s donations are made at no extra charge to Bell Let’s Talk Day participants, though normal long distance or text charges, if any, apply.


Fanshawe makes record donation to United Way campaign

FANSHAWEStaff, students and supporters have powered Fanshawe College to make the largest United Way contribution in the school’s history.

At a celebration Jan. 26, Fanshawe President Peter Devlin announced the college had surpassed its original $110,000 campaign goal and would instead contribute $113,357.42 to the United Way.

This all-campus total will be distributed to United Way agencies across each of Fanshawe’s four campus locations.

“Fanshawe students, staff and retirees continue to recognize the importance of making a difference in the lives of those who need assistance through United Way,” Devlin said. “This donation will go a long way in helping people within our communities. I am very proud of everyone at Fanshawe and thank them for their support.”

This all-campus total reflects funds raised through payroll and leadership contributions, as well as special events from the college’s campuses in London, Woodstock, Simcoe and St. Thomas.

This is the sixth consecutive year Fanshawe has surpassed the $100,000 mark.

Since 1995 Fanshawe College has contributed more than $1.3 million to the United Way.

“Fanshawe’s commitment to our community is reflected in their truly exceptional United Way campaign,” said Andrew Lockie, CEO, United Way London & Middlesex. “The generosity of their faculty, staff, and students exceeded expectations and more importantly, will create lasting change in people’s lives right here in London and Middlesex County.”

Airshow London takes to the Forest City skies this September

AirshowLondon aviation fans will soon have an opportunity to enjoy their passion up close and personal.

Airshow London — a new not-for-profit venture and unique collaboration of business, education and public sector leaders — anticipates 100 pilots, 50 planes and several high-profile aviation acts.

Among the participants will be the Canadian Forces Snowbirds and CF18 Demonstration Team, which will fill show grounds at the London International Airport, Sept 17-18.

Publicly launched at Mayor Matt Brown’s State of the City breakfast address on Jan. 26, the weekend is expected to attract and entertain a diverse audience from across Southern Ontario, Michigan and New York

Brown, an aviation enthusiast, welcomed the airshow as an opportunity to showcase London’s capabilities and potential for growth in the aviation, defence and aerospace industries, including Fanshawe’s School of Aviation Technology,

“It has been 12 long years without an airshow and we are so excited to see its return,” Brown said. “This September we are gearing up to welcome crowds of 25,000 or more from right across southwestern Ontario. They are going to see an absolutely amazing show.”

One of the most unique aspects of Airshow London is Fanshawe College’s involvement.

Students from the Schools of Aviation Technology and Public Safety will be involved in the development and execution of the airshow throughout the year, and many of their contributions will be eligible for co-curricular credits.

Not only will students be involved with the development and execution of the event, but also profits from the airshow will support bursaries for students enrolled in the Aviation Technology programs, as well as providing support to Children’s Hospital and veterans.

“Fanshawe’s School of Aviation Technology is one of Ontario’s best,” said Fanshawe College president Peter Devlin. “With our exceptional facility located at the airport, we are thrilled about being right in the middle of such an exciting and important event.”

While Airshow London’s founding board of directors includes a diverse cross-section of professional and sector expertise, several of its directors and volunteer organizing committee members have extensive aviation and airshow experience.

Board chair Jim Graham is one of them.

With many years of experience with both the former airshow in London and St. Thomas, bringing back a high-quality show to the Forest City has been his vision several years in the making.

“Airshows spark dreams,” Graham said. “The careers of many of our best pilots — including London’s Capt. Ryan Kean, who will fly in for our airshow — to top airline executives across North America began on a Saturday afternoon at an airshow when they were just kids. This is a chance for our young people, for everyone in our community, to view, interact with, and participate in cutting edge aerospace technology.”

Advance tickets will be available online and will be available for sale at regional Rexall locations in the spring.

Londoners who wish to volunteer are asked to visit


Verge Capital launch event unveils first pair of loan recipient

Verge Capital, a London-based social finance intermediary, has unveiled its first two beneficiaries.

On Jan. 19, Verge Capital announced the social enterprises that are on the verge of a breakthrough during a launch event at the Western Fair Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market.

ATN Access Inc. and For the Love of Laundry were announced as fund recipients, part of a new wave of investing that is gaining momentum globally. Verge is ready to launch social investments to create economic and social impact in London.

“I’m pleased to see Verge Capital helping to build up local businesses and organizations that are making a positive difference in their communities,” said Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure. “The growth of the global social finance marketplace is expected to reach $1 trillion by 2020, and our government is committed to helping London lead efforts to build this market in southwestern Ontario.”

Verge’s first loan recipient is ATN Access Inc.’s social enterprise, the Old East Village Grocer.

The Old East Village Grocer store has many socially positive initiatives, including hiring adults with disabilities who face barriers in employment and training them in the grocery environment for future workplace opportunities.

The Grocer also provides access to affordable and healthy food to an area considered to be a food desert.

“Our mission is to serve persons with disabilities and provide them access to the employment market,” said Vicki Mayer, executive director of ATN Access Inc. “Through Verge’s investment, we will be able to create additional jobs in London and sustain our work using the social enterprise model.”

Verge’s second loan recipient is For the Love of Laundry.

For the Love of Laundry serves low-income and homeless citizens through offering a location to wash their clothes at free laundry events. Clean clothes give individuals confidence, pride, dignity, and self-worth.

“It’s a basic need that’s totally forgotten about,” said founder Melissa Power.

Power started to make her own laundry soap and realized that she had so much left over. With the support of Pillar Nonprofit and Verge Capital, Power began to sell her soap and use a portion of her sales to organize free laundry events for low-income families and the homeless.

Pillar Nonprofit Network announced seed funding for a Social Enterprise Loan Fund in February 2015 that catalyzed Verge Capital.

Since July 2015, Verge Capital has been working to connect local investors with social enterprises to create local impact.

Verge is a collective effort by London Community Foundation, Pillar Nonprofit Network, Sisters of St. Joseph, and United Way London and Middlesex with funding provided in part by the Government of Ontario and Ursuline Sisters of Chatham.

The Social Enterprise Loan Fund is administered in partnership Libro Credit Union.


Local entertainers come together to support St. Joseph’s Hospice at earth-themed celebration

People looking to get a jump on Valentine’s Day can cultivate their love for that special someone by taking in an earth-themed evening supporting St. Joseph’s Hospice.

Four Elements for Hospice: Earth 2016 is set for Feb. 4 at Best Western Lamplighter Inn & Conference Centre and will see performances by acclaimed London musicians and beloved local personalities. All proceeds from this event will support the programs and services offered at by the hospice.

Hospice palliative care is a philosophy of care that supports the whole person — body, mind, and spirit.

When people come through the doors at the hospice they embark on a profoundly personal journey alongside their loved ones. Hospice is able to provide care at no cost to those we serve thanks to donations and fundraising events such as Four Elements for Hospice: Earth 2016.

The homegrown musical lineup for Earth 2016 kicks off with Jessica O’Neil — stage name Yessica Woahneil — a local nurse who moonlights as a talented singer-songwriter.

Acclaimed London musician Marty Kolls will then take the main stage with her eclectic and powerful mix of pop, folk and bluegrass.

“It’s wonderful to have this opportunity to celebrate some of the things that make life so special — music, friendship, laughter, and great food — all while raising much needed funds for hospice.” says Kolls, who has shared stages with Sarah Harmer, Dan Mangan, and Alanis Morissette.

Kolls released her first full-length solo album, This Life, last year.

Retired broadcaster and long-time hospice supporter Jim Swan will emcee the evening, while the ever-energetic Linda “The Auctionista” Leja will fuel the crowd with her special brand of auctioneering.

While the stellar lineup of entertainment is one reason to attend, the evening will also include a customized three-course, earth-themed meal.

Earth 2016 is the second in a four-part annual fundraising series, Four Elements for Hospice.

Each year, St. Joseph’s Hospice offers a unique evening themed around one of the four elements (fire, earth, water and air), with proceeds to support hospice.

“The people of London and Middlesex continue to inspire us with their generosity, donating more than $1 million per year to hospice, which funds 52 percent of our annual operating budget,” said John Callaghan, St. Joseph’s Hospice CEO. “Last year’s event, FIRE 2015, was a tremendous success, and we look forward to hosting another unforgettable evening this year.”

Tickets for Earth 2016 ($125 each or $1,000 for a table of eight) are now on sale, and are available at


Mayor Brown to speak at Ontario pre-budget consultation

If London’s dreams of a rapid transit system are to become a reality, the provincial government is going to need to open its bank account.

Mayor Matt Brown was scheduled to appear before the Ontario government’s Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, Jan. 18.

The committee is currently seeking input on the Ontario 2016 budget.

The mayor announced in media release he would take the opportunity to explain the need for a partnership with the provincial government on London’s rapid transit initiative.

The Ontario government is investing more than $130 billion into infrastructure in communities across the province. Through the Moving Ontario Forward process, the province is investing $15 billion for public transit and other priority infrastructure projects outside of the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area.

London is requesting $388 million from the Ontario government to be phased out over a 10-year period, beginning in 2017 for Shift.

The city’s request represents approximately 2.5 percent of the funds available through Moving Ontario Forward.

“Cities are the economic engines of our province,” Brown said. “We are reaching out in this way because when London and other large cities grow, Ontario thrives.”

London, according to a media release, is the largest city in Canada without a rapid transit system.

Shift charts the course for a different future for London. It envisions a 22 km rapid transit system — including improved road, bus and active transportation networks throughout the city — and will result in a more efficient, sustainable, convenient and connected community.

In November 2015, council endorsed a Hybrid Light Rail Transit/Bus Rapid Transit System as the preliminary preferred option.

Overall, the estimated capital cost of Shift is $900 million.

The city has committed $125 million towards the capital costs and will pay for ongoing operating and maintenance costs. The city is also requesting funds from the federal government.

More than 40,000 Londoners have been involved in public engagement that has helped shape the option endorsed by council.

For more information on Shift, Our Rapid Transit Initiative visit


Health unit offering smokers supports during National Non-Smoking Week

As National Non-Smoking Week kicks off Jan. 18, the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) is reminding tobacco retailers that one of the more tempting marketing tools is no longer available.

New amendments to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act came into effect on Jan. 1, banning the sale of flavoured tobacco products.

“Flavours are used by the tobacco industry as a marketing tactic to recruit and hook the next generation of tobacco users,” said Linda Stobo, MLHU chronic disease prevention and tobacco control manager.

“Tobacco is a difficult addiction to overcome, but the good news is many have already quit successfully, or they have plans to,” Stobo said. “With cherry, honey, and berry-flavoured tobacco products now off the shelf, tobacco users young and old can be supported in their quit attempts without having the added temptation of candy- and fruit-flavoured tobacco at every corner store.”

The Health Unit is visiting tobacco retailers to provide education on the new rules and to work with vendors to ensure that flavoured tobacco products are off the shelves.

Policies that limit the availability and the appeal of tobacco products, along with the provision of cessation services and supports, work together to increase each individual’s effort to become tobacco free.

According to the 2013/14 Canadian Community Health Survey, 43.7 percent of daily and occasional smokers in Middlesex-London plan on quitting in the next six months.

The good news is that there are supports and services in Ontario to help tobacco users quit.

Tobacco users can access trained quit specialists by calling the Smokers’ HelpLine (@SmokersHelpline on Twitter) toll-free at 1-800-363-5864 to start a plan. In addition, many family health teams in the community offer quit smoking counselling and/or offer free nicotine replacement therapy.

Doctors, nurse practitioners and pharmacists can also prescribe quit smoking medications like varenicline and buproprion.

For more information on the local quit smoking supports and services that are available, contact the Middlesex-London Health Unit’s Quit Clinic at 519-663-5317, ext. HELP (4357).