LACONIA — Tufts Health Plan Foundation has announced a $10,000 Momentum Fund grant to Partnership for Public Health to develop a Village Network in the Lakes Region.

Twenty-seven grants, totaling nearly $270,000, were awarded to community organizations through the new mini-grant program. The fund was established to foster new ideas and advance the movement to make cities and towns better places to grow up and grow old.

“We developed the Momentum Fund to help smaller communities and organizations that want to do this work,” said Nora Moreno Cargie, president of Tufts Health Plan Foundation and vice-president of corporate citizenship at Tufts Health Plan. “They are adopting more inclusive policies, building accessible parks and public spaces, and integrating age-friendly practices.”

The Partnership for Public Health is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization formed in 2005 to address the Winnipesaukee region’s unmet public health needs. It has a number of public health initiatives underway as well as providing service in the community. Among its initiatives are ServiceLink Resource Centers in Belknap and Carroll counties, Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) in Franklin and Laconia, substance misuse and suicide prevention, emergency preparedness, immigrant integration, school-based immunization, oral health education, the Winnipesaukee Public Health Council and the Integrated Delivery Network (IDN) Medicaid Transformation Demonstration Project.

The goal of these initiatives is to provide education and resources to the community at large in order to empower citizens to live their most healthy lives.

The Partnership, with the support of the Momentum Fund grant, will provide technical assistance and support to community champions interested in the development of a village. Under the village concept, older adults help to organize, coordinate, or volunteer to deliver services to other village members, including transportation, opportunities for social networking, and affordable and accessible in-home services. The project proposed will work to emulate the most successful village — Beacon Hill, Massachusetts, that currently has 400 members and offers a variety of social, health, and wellness benefits.

“Many New England communities recognize older people as tremendous assets,” said Phillip González, the Foundation's senior program officer. “This is an opportunity for us to learn from communities as they innovate and collaborate to address the needs of that community.”

The Momentum Fund is supporting 10 projects in Massachusetts, 10 in Rhode Island and seven in New Hampshire. Each is community-led, addresses healthy aging and includes older people in the planning and implementation process.

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