CBDC – West Prince Ventures Ltd. in Alberton recently received funding for a one-year pilot program to support population and inclusive growth in rural PEI by helping newcomers become part of the community.
Scott Smith is the new West Prince Community Navigator. He will assist newcomers to West Prince, which extends from Tyne Valley to Tignish.
“In the past few years, we have seen a large number of newcomers to our area,” says Scott. This free to access program offers assistance to any new residents coming into our area temporarily or permanently.
“We are here to welcome them to West Prince, answer any questions or concerns they may have, and provide assistance and information which can help with the transition to their new life here on PEI. For example, we can let them know how and where to get a health card, where to access assistance seeking employment, or how to access banking.
“We are here to assist in many ways, and we also provide a referral service. In the past few weeks, I have toured around the region to introduce myself and the program to other service providers.
“This way, we can better help new residents learn what services in our area are best suited for them.”
Scott is very interested in hearing about people’s experiences with moving here, what could be done better, and what works well.
“Some may be moving here from another country and struggle with the language barrier. Others may be locating to rural PEI from other Canadian provinces. This service is an excellent tool for newcomers to gain information on what West Prince has to offer.”
“We also want to hear from local businesses about their hiring needs. We hope to assist in filling any skilled or unskilled labour shortages. Some employers struggle with filling positions or with the process of finding and hiring foreign workers. We hope to mediate the process between employer and employee.
“Local businesses and employers are welcome to contact us. We may not have all the info they require, but we can assist them to find the necessary information, and we are open to hosting sessions for anyone interested in the program.
“Moving to a new location can be very stressful,” says Scott. “You need to find work, a home, transportation, a family doctor and other healthcare, and a bank, just to name of few of the to- do’s newcomers are faced with. This can be very overwhelming and challenging. As the Community Navigator, I can lighten this burden.”
Another goal of the program is to work closely with local residents, communities and municipalities to become more welcoming. “We have reached out to various organizations, and everyone is on board to help!
“We are looking for volunteers from our area willing to help others settle in and feel welcome in their new environment,” says Scott. “This is a very important component of community inclusion. We look forward to hearing from anyone with suggestions, questions or ideas.”
The program is funded by Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), the Department of Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture, and the Department of Rural and Regional Development.