Breaking down barriers in the Haut Saint Francois

By Gordon Lambie

It is a well-known and well-documented fact that community, health, and social services can be harder for individuals to find and connect with in a rural environment than in a city. That problem of access becomes that much greater when language is a part of the equation, as even the services that do exist can seem out of reach when they require one to speak in a second language. “There is always a barrier between the most vulnerable individuals and the institutions because sometimes bringing those individuals to those institutions, they feel like they are being judged and put in a box. Nobody wants that,” said Jenny Ménard, who works to try to bridge that gap through her job as the interim Community Outreach Worker for the Haut Saint Francois MRC. Ménard is one of two outreach workers in the HSF (one for English, one for French) and one of many at work in communities across the province. “We’re the in between, there to listen to them and support them, and bring them to those services when they are ready.” The job, as underlined by its French title “travailleur de proximite” is literally to be close to the community. “It can be anything in relation to helping individuals have access to services or local activities,” the worker said, adding that, “it can be very varied,” taking in everything from meeting with community partners to accompanying people to appointments for setting up daycare services, dentistry, doctor’s visits, or mental health support. See full story in the Monday, Feb. 10 edition of The Record.

Share this article