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October 2020 Newsletter

What’s New at Over 55:

Fall is here! And with the arrival of the cooler weather, it’s time to turn our thoughts to those fall projects you may have been considering. Although the pandemic has meant challenges to the way things are done, it’s still important to keep on top of maintenance projects. And Over 55 Skills at Work is here to help. Please contact us at o55.ca for more information about the services that we provide. If you’re working on a “to do” list, here’s some advice that you may find useful.

COVID-19 and Halloween

The pandemic has raised questions and concerns among families about trick-or-treating this year. Recent media reports include comments by Mayor Ed Holder and Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Chris Mackie, which highlight considerations in planning for Halloween. Neighbourhood watch London has put together a special Halloween guide, which you can read here: NWL COVID-19 Halloween Tips

Goodbye Summer!

Decluttering things that may have accumulated over the summer is a good way to welcome the fall. It may seem overwhelming, but here are a few tips to getting started:

  • Donate warm weather clothes that didn’t see the sun this year.
  • Take the time to go through your garage while the weather is still warm
  • Recycle summer magazines you’re holding onto “just in case” for things like recipes.
  • Recycle boxes that may be lying around from online orders.

Lawnmower Maintenace

It’s almost time to park the lawnmower for the winter. And it’s easy to forget about the mower once it’s back in the garage. But here are some tips to help ensure that it will be in smooth running order when you need it again in the spring.

  • For Gas Mowers: Drain the gas at the end of the mowing season. Old gas is one of the main reasons a mower won’t start at the beginning of the season.
  • Clean out the undercarriage. Caked grass can clog the discharge chute.
  • Change the spark plug every year to ensure an easy start.
  • For Gas and Riding Lawnmowers: Consider a professional tuneup and routine maintenance, including a diagnostic test.

Eavestrough Cleaning

It’s important to make sure that your eavestroughs and clean and in good shape BEFORE the snow and ice hits. Otherwise, you could experience costly damage such as:

  • Roof damage: When clogs cause flooding, it could produce rot on the roof.
  • Pests: Clogged eavestroughs can be an appealing nesting site.
  • Garden Bed Damage: Excess water spilling from clogs can damage plants over time.
  • Foundation Damage: If water overflows and pools along the foundation, it can freeze and possibly generate cracks, leading to serious damage and expensive repairs.


Eavestroughs are often out of reach and working at heights can be extremely dangerous for untrained individuals. Be sure to contact us for a quote on eavestrough cleaning if you need help.

A Special Note From London Police Service Regarding Increased Bank Fraud


Be aware of recent reports of personal banking fraud. Here’s how the scam works: The victim is approached by someone who says they’ve lost their wallet or phone. The suspect asks for assistance, sending a fake electronic fund transfer to the victim. The victim is convinced to withdraw cash from an ATM, and hands the money over to the suspect. After the suspect has left the area, the victim realizes they have been defrauded. In another scenario, the victim is asked to deposit a cheque by the suspect into their personal bank account and turn over the money to the suspect. The victim later discovers the cheque was fraudulent.

“The London Police Service would like to remind the public that agreeing to withdraw funds from a bank account for a stranger is very risky, and usually ends up in a situation where the victim loses money. Any time someone wants to use your personal bank account for their benefit, it comes with great risk and should be avoided to protect the integrity of your bank account and personal finances” according to the London Police website.


Canine Kudos!


Here’s another great note from our friends at Neighbourhood Watch London: Heroes come in all shapes and sizes, and sometimes they have four legs! London police dog Koda, is being credited with helping the Canine Unit catch a stolen vehicle suspect. The vehicle had been taken from south London residence September 28th. Police tracked down the van, and as they approached the vehicle, the suspect fled into an alley. Koda led police to a man hiding inside a large garbage dumpster. The suspect has been charged with theft over $5000.



Until next month, we hope that you stay safe and healthy.


Sincerely,
The Over 55 London Team

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OTF Grow Grant Summary

Thank You OTF!

With the pandemic impacting so many communities around the world, we would like to take this opportunity to reflect on a positive end to our OTF Grow Grant.

In 2017, Over 55 Skills At Work was awarded an Ontario Trillium Foundation Grow Grant. The $397,000 was invested into our organization to help it grow and diversify its operations and membership, with a special focus on recruiting more female and ethnocultural Associates.

A core component of this project also reflected on offering increased training opportunities to our Members. All new members now receive access to intake training, and in addition, were able to offer the following workshops for the first time in our 30+ year history:

  • Small Business Workshops, including marketing, digital marketing and small business finance
  • Technology training – E-Mail, smartphones and more
  • First-Aid
  • Working At Heights
  • WSIB
  • Customer Service & Conflict Resolution

While the COVID-19 pandemic did impact our efforts, we were able to enjoy significant growth and impact with the valuable support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation. This 3 year period allow us not only to grow our organization, but it also allowed us to expand outside of London, with Guelph and Chatham-Kent on our roadmap for 2020. It also led to several community partnerships, including our management of Neighbourhood Watch London.

Ontario Trillium Foundation Logo

Unfortunately, this pandemic also forced us to cancel our planned OTF recognition event, which was to be attended by OTF Staff, local MPs/MPPs, local media, and our team. We have created a short video highlighting some of our OTF achievements, and hope that the community recognizes OTF for its support of our, and many other organizations.

This global pandemic has caused our economies to contract and change, with effects that will be felt for years. While over the short-term this has impacted our operations, we are confident that we can create long-term entrepreneurship, training and employment opportunities for individuals age 55+ in our communities.

While this OTF grant has ended, we will continue to work hard to create opportunities for mature entrepreneurs, and to serve seniors in our community.

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O55 Update re: COVID-19

Dear Clients:

As COVID-19/Novel Coronavirus continues to challenge how we work and deliver service, we would like to inform you that our offices are closed until at least April 6th. We remain available to you via phone – (519)438-1111 and e-mail – info@o55.ca.

We are still offering our full range of services, but please be prepared to answer health-related pre-screening questions. Your answers are 100% confidential, and are only being used to protect the health of our community.

Thank you, and stay healthy!

Sincerely,

Rodolfo Martinez

for the Over 55 Skills At Work Team

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Reflecting on a Year of Growth

Looking Ahead to Year 3 of Our OTF Grow Grant

In April of 2017, we were thrilled to announce that the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) had chosen to support Over 55 through a Grow Grant.  The $397,000 awarded to our organisation has already had a significant impact in growing our membership base, as well as social enterprise revenues.  2018 Represented a record growth in the number of our Associate Members – individuals age 55+, who work as entrepreneurs delivering important services to the community.  With the support of OTF, we hope to do something that we have never done before: to achieve over 100 active senior entrepreneurs on our membership roster.

Over 55 Skills At Work - Man cutting floor tile

As we begin to enter the final year of our OTF Grow grant, we are also excited to expand to other communities, with our first pilot being in Guelph.

Over 55 Skills At Work - Female Senior Entrepreneur

In closing, we would like to thank OTF, our community partners, staff, volunteers, and our Associate Members, as we look forward to the next phase of growth for Over 55 Skills At Work.

Ontario Trillium Foundation Logo
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OTF Grow Grant: Year 1

A Year of Diversity for Over 55.

With the valuable support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Over 55 has enjoyed unprecedented growth in its membership, diversity, and scope of jobs referred to our entrepreneurs.

Following our original intent of the OTF Grow Grant, we have worked hard as an organization to recruit more female entrepreneurs, and to give both new and existing female entrepreneurs access to work & training opportunities. Additionally, we have also focused on recruiting more diverse members, including Spanish speaking Associate from London’s Latin-American community.

We are looking forward to offering new training and employment opportunities to all of our Associates, and thank you for your continued support.

Sincerely,

The Over 55 Skills At Work Team

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OTF Funding Received

Thank You OTF!

For over 30 years, Over 55 has operated as one of London’s oldest social enterprises. We support entrepreneurs age 55+ who offer a variety of services, including home repairs, cleaning, transportation, and more. To date, our Associate Members have served over 25,000 clients in London and area, many of which are seniors themselves.

While we have had many successes throughout our history, now is the time to grow and diversify our organization. Seniors have long been ignored by key initiatives, and in particular senior entrepreneurship has not been considered high priority. We are grateful that the Ontario Trillium Foundation has recognized the need for a solution in our community. With the valuable support of the OTF, we aim to scale our current social enterprise so that we can create more senior entrepreneurs in London.

Additionally, we have identified diversity as a strategic focus. Over 55 will be working with the Canadian Latin American Association to recruit new, diverse Associate Members, and in addition we will seek to add more female members to our organization. We will also be working towards using our business model to help combat senior poverty, by connecting our members 55+ to flexible, short-term, self-employment opportunities.

We would like to thank the Ontario Trillium Foundation for seeing the value of Over 55, and recognizing the economic impact that our seniors can still contribute to our community. We hope that you will support us as we launch this exciting project. Thank you.

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Thanks to Our Volunteers

We would like to express our sincere thanks to all of our volunteers. Over 55 had over 5,000 points of contact last year, and completed over 4,000 support services for people in London and area. This simply would not be possible without their support. Congratulations, and once again, THANK YOU!

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Help keep seniors in their homes longer!

As seen on CTV London News, Home Extend by Over55 provides low-income seniors with no-cost renovations to keep them in their homes longer. You can do your part to help our seniors by donating today, either by calling or visiting our offices, or online.

You can donate now to help Over55 continue to improve quality of life for Seniors in our community by donating.

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A Warmer, Safer Christmas through Home Extend

Thanks to the Home Extend pilot project created by Over 55 London in partnership with Pathways Skills Development and Placement Centre and funded by the Sifton Family Foundation, a senior couple will enjoy a warmer, safer Christmas and future in their newly upgraded home.  The Crasto’s 50 year old home was desperately in need of repairs to its heating, windows and doors, entrances, and safety features.  With limited financial resources, the couple was distressed at the prospect of being unable to remain in their home for much longer even though they both enjoy good health.  Fortunately, due to the level of need and with gratitude, the family were delighted to be chosen by Over 55 London  for the launch of  Home Extend, a pilot project to provide repairs and adaptations  in the categories of energy efficiency, accessibility, and safety at no cost so that Senior Citizens are able to stay in their homes longer.

Congratulations to the Crasto family.  May you enjoy many more years in your home.

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National Seniors Day

October 1, 2015 has been declared National Seniors Day!

The Government of Canada is proud to pay tribute to the seniors who have helped build our country and continue to make valuable contributions to Canadian communities, workplaces and society.

National Seniors Day is an occasion for all Canadians to appreciate and celebrate the seniors in their lives.