April 23, 2002

York Region to participate in volunteer centre and 211 phone service initiative

NEWMARKET York Regional Council has endorsed staff participation and representation on a newly-created York Community Information and Volunteer Centre (YCIVC) and Access 211 Project Steering Committee. The goal of the Committee is to provide York Region residents with region-wide access to community information, referrals and volunteer opportunities.

"This project is in keeping with a recommendation of our Human Services Strategy, which calls for more sharing of resources and greater integration between service providers," said Regional Chair Bill Fisch.

Created in January 2002, the YCIVA/211 Project Steering Committee represents a merger of two separate but related initiatives.

211 is a three-digit telephone access to information and referral for community, health, social and government services. Recently approved for use by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, 211 would provide residents with an easy-to-recall telephone number. Trained personnel will identify the information and services callers requires and provide them with contact support. A Task Force under the leadership of the York Region Advisory Forum for Children, Youth and Families looked at the feasibility of a 211 service in York Region.

The YCIVC is a model for providing residents with region-wide community information and volunteer opportunities. By linking a regional agency to local service providers, YCIVC would help fill the growing gap between existing information and volunteer support and the anticipated demand for these services. Similar to 211, a feasibility study was also completed for a YCIVC.

Both studies had similar conclusions: York Region's growing population requires a "first stop" to accessing the range of services available and that while there are local capacities to deliver community information and volunteer co-ordination, there is no one organization capable of providing region-wide and comprehensive services to all residents.

The YCIVC/211 Steering Project Committee will begin consulting with key stakeholders on a preferred model and structure for a combined YCIVC and 211 service this month. Regional Council's motion also endorsed the role of the Human Services Planning Coalition in reviewing options for a region-wide, community information and call centre.

For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, the services we offer and links to our nine area municipalities, please visit our Web site at: www.region.york.on.ca.

The Regional Municipality of York is committed to providing cost-effective, quality services that respond to the needs of our rapidly growing communities.  York Region is comprised of the following nine area municipalities:  Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Whitchurch-Stouffville.  For more information, visit our Web site at:  www.region.york.on.ca

Contact: Patrick Casey, Senior Media Relations Specialist, York Region

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