Community Healthcare Support Network Pilot Project

Community Driven | Solution Oriented | Integrated Care

The Challenge

BC communities like the West Shore and Sooke are losing healthcare capacity, and municipalities presently lack plans to attract, retain, and support family doctors, nurses, and other healthcare and emergency personnel. 

Solutions must be found as quickly as possible to reverse the trend for one of the fastest growing parts of the province.

The Solution

Bring our community together to collaborate on a practical plan that’s achievable in a compressed timeframe, and scalable/shareable with others to make the most of the knowledge gained.

That’s the old school set-up for the Community Healthcare Support Network (CHS) Pilot Project. 

The Community Healthcare Support Network

Community Driven

The Saunders Family Foundation called upon award-winning planning consultant Mark Holland to work with the frank and focused input received from the frontlines of Vancouver Island’s primary care space and the communities they serve. People who deliver healthcare services, people who help manage our regional healthcare system, elected officials, developers, business owners, and community service leaders all weighed in on the challenge, and offered input on solutions.

Solution Oriented

The resulting solution is the Community Healthcare Support Network, a grassroots Game Plan to equip communities with Tools and Playbooks for taking local action to support, attract, and retain family doctors, nurses, and other healthcare and emergency response personnel.

The community Healthcare Support Network (CHS) is focused on the actions we CAN take locally to support our healthcare workers and emergency response personnel.

We will focus on some of the key things that will really help make a difference for our healthcare workers, and things that we can get local support for, and take direct action on, like:

    • Housing Costs
    • Transportation & Parking
    • Childcare
    • General Living Costs
    • Personal Well-being and Support
    • and others 

Integrated Care: It Takes a Village

We are asking the Province of BC to provide seed money to enable the M’akola Housing Society to work with the Saunders Family Foundation to build out the Game Plan, Toolbox, and Playbooks for local communities to use — so that communities can avoid re-inventing the wheel.

The Saunders Family Foundation wants to be able to provide a basic Playbook for each group in a community to guide them through the actions they can take, and the Tools to help them support their community’s healthcare workers.

We will work with local leaders and community groups so they can organize and manage parts of the program, such as the municipality, the Chamber of Commerce, community service clubs, the Hospital Foundation, businesses, developers, and others. It’s all-hands-on-deck to help.

Together, we have an enormous amount of capacity – we just need to harness it and point it in the right direction to help our healthcare workers. By acting with urgency at the local level, we can help turn this thing around.

Big Change Starts Small

While the overall healthcare budget may be in the billions, that doesn’t help a nurse or a medical office assistant who can’t afford housing near where she works, or to pay gas costs and find childcare for her kids over a night shift. These “small things” are actually “big things” to our healthcare workers. And we CAN do something about these things at our local level. So let’s get going!

What if the plan doesn't work?

Some of what we will try will work and will have a big impact, and some things will have a big impact in one place and maybe less in another. Some things won’t go as planned, and we’ll learn and adapt, just like with other things in life.


The Saunders Family Foundation is grateful for the contributions of the many people who have so far taken time to engage with us in the development of this project.

Frontline healthcare professionals, social planning advocates, local leaders, and our business community are all concerned about the lack of organizational development support presently available to champion the public health transitions we need to make to embrace change and the creation of more sustainable systems that deliver better care, and make the most of our collective community connections.

These folks left their individual agendas at the door to join hands in this important community quest because they know that there are plenty of things we CAN and should do at the local level to support, attract, and retain family doctors, nurses, and other healthcare and emergency response personnel in our communities.

Thank you to everyone who made time in their busy schedules to offer wisdom and pledge their support to help move our community healthcare system from silos to synergies.