Brantford Chapter: Seniors resource fair draws crowd

Below is an article published in Brantford on May 6th, 2015. Click here to read the article.

A Seniors’ Resource Fair held Wednesday at the civic centre appeared to be the “biggest and best yet,” said David Simmons, chair of the Brantford chapter of the Canadian Association of Retired Persons.

People were lined up and waiting at least 30 minutes before the doors opened at 10 a.m., and about 1,800 people had entered the building before noon, organizers said.

“People love it. They think it’s fabulous,” Simmons said. Not only do they receive a lot of information, but “they run into old friends,” he said.

Many visitors to the free event left with plastic bags brimming with popular freebies, including pens, notepads, information flyers and pamphlets, handed out by some 90 vendors, including businesses, organizations and groups. Other vendors tempted the crowds with candy and cookies.

“I was looking for exercise programs for seniors and found some information. It’s a very good show,” said Evelyn VanSchepen, of Brantford.

The ninth annual show featured vendors, such as financial advisers, hearing loss and foot care specialists, retirement homes, funeral homes and monument makers. Also on hand were representatives from the public library, Brant Historical Society, Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre and volunteer agencies, among others.

“It’s an excellent show,” said Mary Osborne, of Mount Pleasant, after she and husband Doug picked up some information on local retirement homes and pre-arranged funerals.

Don Levell, of Brantford, said he went to the show because it offers “a lot of useful information” and partly “to socialize.”

Representatives of the Brantford Seniors’ Resource Centre, at 783 Colborne St., were on hand to talk to people about what the centre has to offer, how it can help navigate bureaucratic red tape and how to access needed services or programs.

For example, the centre just finished its income tax clinics, during which four volunteer tax preparers helped 846 clients file their returns, said centre co-ordinator Nancy Giles.

Along with seniors – many on fixed incomes – the centre’s tax clinics also aided individuals receiving disability or Ontario Works benefits.