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Healthy champions recognized by community health boards

Parrsboro Lions Club King Lion Shirley Hurley accepts a Health Community Champion award from Megan Johnson of the SPAR Community Health Board.
Parrsboro Lions Club King Lion Shirley Hurley accepts a Health Community Champion award from Megan Johnson of the SPAR Community Health Board. - Submitted

Community Health with Colleen Dowe

Community Health Boards are a committed group of volunteers who work together to improve the health of our community. We take a population health approach and understand that many factors influence health.

Cumberland County’s CHBs have developed a Community Health Plan focused on four priorities: economic wellbeing; mental wellness and a sense of belonging; healthy lifestyle and supportive environments; and, community engagement and positive relationships.

It’s a big job and we can’t do it alone.

Lucky for us there are many others who help improve health and quality of life in our county. The Springhill, Oxford, Amherst and Region (SOAR) CHB and the Southampton, Parrsboro, Advocate and Region (SPAR) CHB recently recognized some Healthy Community Champions - people or groups that improve the health of their communities by providing options or opportunities that contribute to one of our priorities.

At its April meeting, the SOAR CHB presented certificates to the Amherst Curling Club, the Town of Amherst and the Sexual Health Centre of Cumberland County as local Healthy Community Champions.

The Amherst Curling Club hosted an adult beverage room at the July 2017 Blueberry Harvest Festival. With lots of bands and a party atmosphere, they helped reduce the harms of alcohol by providing Cabioke to those who attended (free taxi rides if you are prepared to sing!). A fun and unique way to discourage driving and some walking while impaired.

In September 2017, the Town of Amherst implemented a policy eliminating the use of bottled water when potable tap water is available and they encourage all staff to use potable tap water. This policy is good for the environment. It was the theme for this year’s Earth Day - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and REFUSE.

The policy also saves money as it encourages others to tap the tap.

With no budget and a mandate to provide education around safe sex and sexual health, the Sexual Health Centre of Cumberland County has to be creative. Using simply a cell phone and the help of some NSCC students and other friends, they have produced and uploaded no nonsense videos to social media that are gaining attention. To date they have produced five videos including “How to put it on”,” What to do before doing it”, “Dam it”, “Lube it” and “Talk about it.”

Each video has had thousands of views with the most recent, “Talk About It”, hitting the 12,000 views mark.

The SPAR CHB recognized the Parrsboro Lion’s Club as a Healthy Community Champion. Megan Johnson and Damien Mahoney of SPAR attended the Lion’s Club April meeting and presented them with the award for all of the work they do in the community and particularly their support of the Parrsboro Arena which is enjoyed by many year-round.

All three of our community health boards are currently looking for new members.

Bill Schurman and Linda Cloney, SOAR Co-chairs

Terri Ashley and Trudy Weir, SPAR Co-chairs

Joyce Gray, Pugwash and Area Chair

All of our meetings are open to the public - Pugwash and Area May 1 at 6p.m., SOAR will be meeting May 17 at 5:30 p.m.

For more information and about the board, their meetings or to learn how you can become a member please contact Colleen Dowe at 902-397-0376 or

Colleen Dowe is the coordinator of Cumberland County’s community health boards.

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