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On March 27, at the Red Deer County Council meeting, a five year Community Services Strategic Plan was approved.In 2017, the County conducted a Community Needs Assessment Study that researched and engaged County residents on services and facilities within the Community Services mandate. The Needs Assessment recommended updating the existing Strategic Plan with the findings from the research and engagement process. As a result, Community Services developed a five year Strategic Plan to guide the development of policies, services, and initiatives between 2018 and 2022.Currently, Community Services assists various organizations operating in the County that are mainly volunteer-based, such as recreation and culture boards, community halls and facilities, heritage groups and agricultural societies. The County provides funding to these organizations and, in some cases, Community Services contributes additional support to help them deliver or facilitate programs, services, and facilities for residents. While some of these organizations effectively manage and coordinate opportunities for residents, in other cases the organizations are challenged due to a lack of resources, limited capabilities or inadequate facilities. This has resulted in some service gaps throughout the County.With the new Community Services Strategic Plan, residents will benefit in areas of transit, recreation, volunteerism, seniors and affordable housing, family and community support services, library services and recreation.“We want to improve the ability of our Community Services department,” stated Jo-Ann Symington, Community Services Manager. “After consulting with County residents, we identified their needs and established a clear objective of providing services that will enhance their quality of life. This Strategic Plan will guide us in achieving that goal.”Stay tuned to Red Deer County News for updates on the Community Services Strategic Plan in the coming months.