Three organizations have been chosen to receive funding from the James T. Bowse Health Trust starting in 2020, according to a statement released by Rutland Regional Medical Center.

Rutland County Early Head Start, the Castleton Early Childhood and Special Education Initiative and the Caregiver Support Program will receive Bowse funding after the 2018 Community Health Needs Assessment identified child care, specifically for infants, and support for older residents as some of the most urgent needs in Rutland County.

Jamie Bentley, the community impact coordinator for Rutland Regional Medical Center’s Community Health Improvement Team, said all of the grants had been funded at about the maximum level of $100,000 a year, every year for three years.

“We had such a fantastic pool of applicants this year. We had 10 really worthy proposals and so it was really hard for the committees to whittle it down to the three that were chosen. But when it came down to it, I think the committee felt that these proposals were very much in line with the priority areas that came from the Community Health Needs Assessment that was last done in 2018,” Bentley said.

The assessment allows committee members to align the Bowse funding with the needs identified by local residents. This year’s proposals would support more childcare and more care for the aging local population.

Rutland County Head Start is planning to expand programming to include Early Head Start, adding almost 40 child care slots for infants and toddlers within Rutland City over the nest three years in order to provide consistent care, education, nutrition and support for area families.

Rutland County Head Start welcomes Early Head Start with years of experience and the knowledge needed to create a nurturing and safe environment, according to the representatives of the Bowse Trust.

With the Bowse grants, staff at the Castleton Early Child care and Special Education Initiative will work over the next three years to increase available childcare spots to almost 50.

Starting with spots for infants and toddlers available in 2020, the program will increase access to quality childcare in the western part of the county.

The developing Childcare Center and the new Early Childhood Education academic program, which will both be housed on the University’s main campus, will work together to increase access and train the next generation of early childhood educators.

Bentley said committee members felt both the Castleton proposal and the Rutland Head Start proposal will make “huge impacts” on access to child care within a short amount of time.

Under the leadership of Rutland Mental Health Services, the Caregiver Support Program will provide support services to caregivers for older adults and to older adults who are themselves caregivers.

Those services are expected to provide two benefits: support for the intense and demanding work of providing care to people facing challenges and decreasing the need for loved ones under care to enter assisted living or nursing homes and remain in their homes instead.

The goal of the program is to ease the physical and psychological health burden on caregivers through individualized compassionate support services and training that will increase self-care and resilience.

Bentley said the submission from the Caregiver Support Program was “such a strong proposal.”

“This could really be beneficial for that population within our community because of the twofold benefits from that program of taking care of caregivers but also decreasing the need for some older Vermonters to end up in nursing homes or assisted living because their caregivers can take care of them longer because we’re taking care of them,” she said.

The fund was established in 1997 to honor the memory of James Bowse who had been the president and CEO of Rutland Regional Medical Center from 1989 until his death in June 1997.

The next grant cycle will be announced in April. Grants are awarded on an annual basis, and the application information is posted on the RRMC website at www.rrmc.org. For more information, call Bentley at 776-5503 or email healthtrust@rrmc.org.

patrick.mcardle

@rutlandherald.com

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