Victoria Health Co-op: Working towards Wellness

By Vanessa Hammond

Upcoming Events

This is the year for national co-op organizations to hold their Annual Meetings in Victoria – what a wealth of information and enthusiasm! The Co-op Housing Federation of Canada Annual General Meeting is being held in Victoria on June 6 – 8, 2018. The Victoria Health Co-op has been invited to provide wellness information at the convention, now in its 50th year, and it is worthwhile to note that this is the first time a health co-op has been invited to do something like this - thanks and congratulations to everyone. We will have a table set up to be an information resource on pain avoidance and pain reduction through wellness approaches. This is an excellent opportunity for our wellness practitioners to promote various well-being approaches. For more information, visit the Co-op Housing Federation website:
We also look forward to having your visibility at the Annual Meetings of Co-ops and Mutuals Canada and the BC Co-op Association in mid-July. We are looking for volunteers to staff our display tables at all of these events. Please contact Vanessa at

Wellness Clinic

All member-owners of the Victoria Health Co-op receive an advance notice listing the practitioners at each upcoming clinic. Make sure we have your up-to-date email address and other contact information to receive this notice. If you are not yet a member, join us! It’s easy – just read on to the final paragraph. Our next wellness clinic will be held on June 27th, 2018. A typical group of practitioners would be: Dacia Moss - Natural Health Practitioner and Integrative Energy Healing Practitioner; Bev Norman - Alexander Technique Teacher; Anna-Marie de Zwager - Registered Practicing Kinesiologist; Howard Diemo - Osteopath and Naturopath; and Kelsey Maegher - Thai Massage Practitioner, Acupressure. All are outstanding wellness practitioners.

Proposing a Co-op Café Series

Victoria is rich in co-ops, from the long-standing Peninsula Gas Co-op, co-op housing, the International Women’s Catering Co-op, Olio, MEC, Adrenaline Motorcycle Co-op and dozens of others, and then the many financial co-ops including the credit unions and insurance co-ops. They provide useful employment, housing, health and financial services, and we recognize them at our Annual General Meetings. Now we are planning to do more. Once a month we will host a Co-op Café where a speaker or panel will explain a particular aspect of co-op work, and a focus co-op will let us know about its goods or services. We are planning these events on the third Wednesday of each month starting in September. Huge thanks to Bruce and Lee for taking the lead on this.

 New Developments in Funding

We have exciting news to share with our members! After over a year of working with the BC Association of Community Health Centres (of which the Co-op is a member), we have received notification that the Victoria Health Co-operative is eligible for financial support for nursing services. We are working with several potential partners and will let our members and community know once the details are available. This interim funding is in anticipation of permanent core funding in 2022 for nursing services. We are excited to be given this opportunity and look forward to offering even more services for our community.

 Our Gift

The Victoria Health Co-operative was given an invaluable donation in December 2017 in the form of a custom designed artwork, titled ‘Our Gift’, by Chris Paul and Krista Stogryn. Chris is an internationally recognized Coast Salish artist, W̱JOȽEȽP (Tsartlip) First Nation, and Krista is a family physician who has spent her career living and learning in First Nations communities on the west coast and cared for patients of the Co-op Health Centre for several years. Together they created a beautiful and meaningful design of a person, wrapped in a blanket representing the fabric of the co-op community, surrounded and supported by the Co-op. In their words: “‘Our Gift’ is our humble offering, to acknowledge the Victoria Health Cooperative for all its hard work in supporting the health centre and its devoted team of physicians and staff in the care of our patients.” They have made 50 hand-numbered and signed copies of the print, which are available as gifts to our donors who have contributed over $100 in a pledge to the Creating Community Wellness Society. We invite you to view the image on our website and encourage you to donate to support our wellness initiatives and growing community.

 Thanks to All – This month we have many special thanks. To Selina Pieczonka and John Overall for joining our Board and contributing their remarkable communications and technical skills to promote our wellness initiatives, enhance our online presence, and reach a greater audience. To Scott Glennie, also a web-based designer, who is joining the Board of the Creating Community Wellness Society that does so much to support the work of the Health Co-op. We anticipate that these remarkable volunteers will have our websites and other social media functioning well by the end of the month – many, many thanks, you are remarkable.  Last, but not least, to Viki Anderson whose organizational ability is an amazing stress-reliever, a whole new definition of being a Wellness Practitioner.

Calling All Volunteers and Donors –We need more volunteers to support the Creating Community Wellness Society – have you thought about donating your time, expertise, and enthusiasm to help us serve our community even better? We are currently looking for volunteers to engage in the activities of CCWS and work closely with the Wellness Practitioners and Co-op experts in the Victoria Health Co-ops. Please contact us or share with someone who may be interested in filling the following roles: 

Assistant Secretary/Treasurer; Program planners to work within the Society and with partners from identifying needs and opportunities through concept and fund-raising to implementation, evaluation and reporting; Partnership developer to work with existing and potential partners; and funders to identify mutual interests and co-operation opportunities. For more information: contact CCWS Chair, Vanessa Hammond at or call 250.415.9272.

 Become a Co-op Member-Owner

Give us your voice and let us give you the benefits of being a member-owner. As a co-op, our ability to serve our member-owners and our community comes directly from our membership. When you join us, you strengthen our voice and our influence (such as the focus on wellness rather than waiting until we become ill or injured). When you join, you guide and enable us to provide the services most needed in our community. We ask you for three things: your voice and active involvement, your purchase of a $50 membership share, and a commitment to some ongoing support (This could be $10 a month to as much as you wish!) As a member-owner you receive updates on our activities as a co-operative – you will be well informed about our plans, influence our direction, and participate in our activities. Still unsure about joining? Let’s talk. Contact VHC Chair, Vanessa Hammond at or call 250.415.9272.

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