Charan Gill was the founder and former CEO of Progressive Intercultural Community Services, or PICS.

Charan Gill was the founder and former CEO of Progressive Intercultural Community Services, or PICS.

Wing of Gill’s ‘dream project’ with PICS to bear his name in Cloverdale

‘Lest we forget a legend,’ Surrey-based organization says following Gill’s death Feb. 2

Surrey’s Progressive Intercultural Community Services (PICS) Society has quickly moved to honour the work and legacy of Charanpal (Charan) Gill, founder and former CEO of the non-profit.

A wing of Gill’s “dream project,” Guru Nanak Diversity Village in Cloverdale, will bear the name of the community worker and social activist, who died Tuesday (Feb. 2) at Langley Memorial Hospital following a battle with cancer. He was 84.

“Lest we forget a legend,” PICS stated. “Mr. Gill was a great human being imbued with extraordinary qualities of head and heart and it was his vision and able leadership that became a driving force behind PICS Society. His tireless efforts made PICS develop into a major community organization in the Lower Mainland offering multiple programs and services to the community, including language and settlement services, employment programs, housing for seniors, second stage transition home for immigrant women, training, and programs for women and youth.”

Guru Nanak Diversity Village will be a “revolutionary” facility located near the corner of 64th Avenue and 176th Street. The 125-bed project aims to give seniors “culturally sensitive care services” in a three-storey structure.

• RELATED PHOTOS/STORY, from 2018: PICS gala raises $100K to build seniors village in Cloverdale.

“We also urge the community to help turn into reality Mr. Gill’s dream project, Guru Nanak Diversity Village, by supporting PICS in realizing the target to fundraise the initial $5 million to launch it,” PICS stated. “This initiative, envisioned by Mr. Gill as a futuristic community need, will be another milestone in PICS’s endeavour to ensure that our seniors are able to receive Long-Term Complex Care in a culturally sensitive environment.”

(Story continues below video)

• READ MORE, from 2016: PICS Diversity Village in Surrey will fill ‘critical’ need in seniors care.

PICS will also honour Gill with a plaque at the organization’s head office in Newton, will commemorate him with awards during fundraising galas and also create “a virtual memorial” for him online at pics.bc.ca.

In addition to his days with PICS since the organization was launched in 1987, the Hong Kong-born Gill earned several awards as a co-founder of the Canadian Farm Workers Union and the British Columbia Organization to Fight Racism, among other community work he did for seniors, immigrants, youth and the working poor.

• OBITUARY: Charan Gill, founder of Surrey’s PICS and champion of farmers, was ‘a living legend’

Gill is survived by his three children and their spouses Jack Gill and Amrit, Paul Gill and Sarbjit, Rani Gill and Peter; his grandchildren Sean, Brandon, Alicia, Jovin, Arjun; great grandchild Robin, and his extended family in BC as well as in the U.K., Hong Kong and India.

A family funeral, limited due to COVID-19, will be held at Riverside Funeral Home in Delta. A Celebration of Life for Charan Gill will be held at a later date, the family says.

Meantime, SurreyCares Community Foundation has given an Emergency Community Support Fund grant of $32,883 to PICS in support of Harmony House, a transition house for immigrant women and children fleeing domestic violence.

The funding aims to address the impact of social isolation, exacerbated by the pandemic, for such women. “To decrease social isolation with residents at Harmony House, this funding will be used towards hiring two additional staff, delivering in-house wellbeing programs and delivering wellbeing tools/supplies,” according to a SurreyCares news release.

COVID-19 has caused a surge in domestic violence, and in Surrey, an increase in the number of immigrant women needing to flee dangerous situations, say operators of Harmony House. “Immigrant women who flee a violent or entrapment situation at home do so against all cultural norms. It’s a frightening, difficult, and stressful time,” says the SurreyCares release.

“These women are discouraged to leave and receive little support from their community – their choice is to either run away from everything they know or stay and continue to be abused,” said Manpreet Gill, PICS’ assistant program co-ordinator. “Most leave because they fear for their safety and that of their children. Once they leave, these women end up feeling alone and isolated because they have lost their support networks. Now this already insurmountable social isolation has been exacerbated by the mandated isolation policies due to the pandemic.”



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Alzheimer Society of BC is hosting a number of webinars next month to help people prepare for financial and healthcare needs. (Contributed photo)
Alzheimer Society invites White Rock residents to series of educational webinars

Planning Ahead: Do it Now! webinar to be held March 10

South Surrey’s Elizabeth and Marcel Bergmann – the Bergmann Piano Duo – will present another colorful Surrey Civic Theatres Digital Stage concert., premiering online March 11. Contributed photo
South Surrey pianists Bergmann Duo blend musical colours

Rhapsody In Blue meets The Red Violin in online concert

St. John Ambulance is looking for financial support in its bid to install 1,000 publicly accessible AED devices throughout British Columbia. The stands which hold the defibrillator also contain naloxone and first aid kits. Cost to equip and install each stand is around $8,000. (stock photo)
St. John Ambulance aims to install 1,000 publicly accessible AEDs across B.C.

First of two defibrillators planned for Crescent Beach already in place

(Black Press - file photo)
WEATHER: Enjoy the sun today, prepare for a week of rain

Clouds and rain to arrive by evening, Environment Canada forecasts

Alex Browne photo The felling of two mature Douglas Fir ‘eagle trees’ on Oxford Street, just south of Prospect Avenue, in June of 2019, prompted a review of tree management bylaws and policies now before White Rock council. The trees were felled on instructions from City of White Rock staff, who said the work was necessary because they had become hazardous. (File photo)
City of White Rock mulls ‘tree protection’ bylaw

More stringent measures needed to protect canopy – councillor

An animated Gordie Hogg introduces his 'Community Connections' videos. (YouTube screenshot)
Community Connections: Gordie Hogg speaks with Lorne Ginther

Former mayor, MP began posting conversations on YouTube in June

Alina Durham, mother of Shaelene Bell, lights candles on behalf of Bell’s two sons during a vigil on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO and PHOTOS: Candlelight vigil for missing Chilliwack woman sends message of hope

Small group of family, friends gathered to shine light for 23-year-old mother Shaelene Bell

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Approximate location of the vehicle incident. (Google Maps)
Vehicle incident blocking Coquihalla traffic in both directions

Both directions of traffic stopped due to vehicle incident

Judith Uwamahoro is Black, approximately 4’7″ tall, 80 pounds and has short black hair and brown eyes. (Surrey RCMP handout)
UPDATED: Lower Mainland 9-year-old located after police make public plea

Judith Uwamahoro went missing Friday at around 4 p.m. in Surrey

Five-year-old Nancy Murphy wears a full mask and face shield as she waits in line for her kindergarten class to enter school during the COVID-19 pandemic on Tuesday, September 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Variant of concern linked to COVID-19 outbreak at three Surrey schools

Cases appear to be linked to community transmissions, but schools will remain open

BC Ferries experienced heavy traffic on Feb. 27 following cancellations the day before due to strong winds and adverse weather. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries sailings fill up quickly after Friday cancellations due to high winds

Waits expected on Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen route, Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Most Read