What's Happening

2015 Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce award nominations

We are honoured and grateful to have been nominated for the Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce “Not-for-Profit of the Year” Award. This is the 4th time SIRCH has been nominated and we are humbled and elated every time. We create and maintain our programs, services, social enterprises and resources through strong partnerships and incredible support from this community, so this is also an acknowledgement of the generous, community-minded businesses, individuals and organizations who help us every day. Thank you!

We also are thrilled that the leadership of our Executive Director, Gena Robertson, has been recognized. She has been nominated for “Highlander of the Year”.

SIRCH’s vision is “to have thriving communities where each person feels connected, supported and encouraged”. In the last 12 months, we have employed 29 people. And contracted with over 20 more. That’s a lot of economic ripple! We work hard to bring grants and government funding into Haliburton County. We are working hard to develop thriving social enterprises that not only help the community but generate revenue for SIRCH’s programs. We provide support groups and programs, food, mentoring, educational events, low-cost goods and a wide variety of services to hundreds, maybe thousands, of residents. Our staff and volunteers love what they do. We are proud to have the opportunity to create health and resilience and prosperity in the community in which we choose to live. And we are honoured to be nominated for the Chamber Awards.

New year, new message?

For many years, SIRCH has used ‘creating today to influence tomorrow!’ as a tag line on our letterhead, web site and brochures. This was a quick way to reflect our mission, and referred to the idea that if we work to create the programs, services and community we want, then we’ll have a better place to live in the future. Some people felt it was a bit obscure though. Following an update to the SIRCH mission statement in 2014, we would like to know if you think we should change our tag line to: ‘Responding to needs through innovative programs & strong partnerships

SIRCH tag line for blog post
Please give us your feedback and suggestions below. Does the revised tagline help you better understand SIRCH’s goals and activities?




Woman credits SIRCH program with helping her work through grief

Learning to live again

The Highlander Online 

Current, credible, relevant and dedicated

I was recently reading a study done by Newspapers Canada (2011) to help them understand the differences between rural and urban markets (Newspapers Work: Shopping Habits of Rural and Urban Canadians). Rural markets were defined as those with populations of 10,000 and under. Urban markets were those with populations of over 100,000.

Rural Canada is home to seven million people! Newspapers reach rural neighborhoods that, in some cases, cannot be reached successfully with any other media. The study showed that rural Canadians rely on newspapers as key sources for information on many sectors (grocers, financial services, hardware/home improvement, home electronics, health care products and services, travel and more). Consumers had indicated that newspaper ads were perceived to be current, credible and relevant.

This should not be news to us here in Haliburton County. We all rely on our local newspapers to report relevant local events, information and stories. We know the individuals who write the columns and report the news. We sit next to the editors and publishers in the coffee shop. We consider them one of us. We count on the newspapers to advertise our services and jobs, to reflect our rural values and ideals, to present various sides of any issue.

SIRCH has been very blessed to have the support of the local newspapers in our Gifts from the Heart campaign (and frankly in every fundraising effort and new program we undertake). Much of the success of our campaign can be laid at the door of the local newspapers, and their dedicated staff. On behalf of all of us at SIRCH (staff and volunteers) I want to say a heartfelt and sincere thank you!

Gena Robertson
Executive Director

Why give a Gift from the Heart?

Martha, 80, lives with her brother Tom, who is 84. Martha moved in when her husband died a year ago. She is still having difficulty coming to terms with her husband’s death – after all they were married for over 60 years! Living at Tom’s is difficult, although Martha is grateful for his company and for a free place to stay. Her savings are long gone and she has only her pension. Tom also has only his pension so it’s a help for him too. The house is in need of repair. It’s not well insulated and is heated with wood. “We’re not exactly spring chickens you know,” Martha thought, as she stoked the fire. A neighbour had helped them stack some wood but Martha was worried about how they’d manage if this winter was anything like the last one. Their family lived far away and most of their friends were either in long term care or had moved away. Both she and Tom hated the idea of moving to long term care or even renting a place in town – they loved being in the country.

How can Gifts from the Heart help? SIRCH could provide the following services:

1. Need a Hand workers could help split and pile wood, help with repairs or maintenance and other chores.

2. SIRCH could help Tom with an application for a renovation grant

3. Community Kitchen could provide free meals, if needed.

4. The Bereavement Program could help Martha with her grief.

5. SIRCH could refer them to other resources like the Heat Bank for wood, Food Bank if they need food, Community Care for social activities or rides to the doctor.

Help us help residents like Martha and Tom. Give to Gifts from the Heart!

2014 catalogue front page