FCSS seeking feedback on community needs

Ponoka’s Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) is looking for public feedback on the needs of the area.

Ponoka’s Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) is looking for public feedback on the needs of the area.

Using Survey Monkey and paper forms, the survey is intended to find where there are gaps in services and what needs there are considering the economic downturn, explained Shannon Boyce-Campbell, executive director.

While FCSS conducted a needs assessment survey for Ponoka a few years ago, Boyce-Campbell suggests this new survey, which takes about 10 to 15 minutes to complete, will be able to determine not only needs but help highlight where FCSS’s mandate sits within those needs.

The hope is to identify the most intense area of focus in Ponoka and whether there is a program for people. “If we find that there’s a need but there’s no service, we need to find a way with our funding, or with the community’s funding, to offer that service,” she said.

Other data planners will look at include economic data for the town and county of Ponoka plus information from Alberta Health Services.

For those who want to add more than just the answers on the survey, Boyce-Campbell welcomes their feedback. Her hope is to get as much information out of the survey while also shedding light on the many services in the community. There may be some solutions that residents are unaware about, too.

Affordable housing is an issue in the community and one potential idea would be to create a website on what is available inside Ponoka.

“Anecdotally I mean, we are hearing of parents that are not able to afford to put their children in programs this summer because of the economic downturn. And free programming or little cost programming, their use is increasing whereas fee for service programs is decreasing,” said Boyce-Campbell.

“Those are things that the (FCSS) board will look at,” she added.

Free swim days at the aquaplex, which FCSS already does sponsor, and diversity of programming are other areas that FCSS will look at while also considering art and culture programs.

Hard copies of the survey can be found at different agencies in the community such as the town and county of Ponoka offices, Ponoka Youth Centre, Parent Link Centre and a few other locations but people can also access the survey online here (or be emailed): https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DGFKNCT.

The deadline to fill out the survey is Friday, Aug. 19 and already more than 100 people have filled it out, although Boyce-Campbell suggests the more there are, the better. If a person enters their name and address they are entered into a $100 draw.