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

Labour Minister Harry Bains addressing Surrey Board of Trade digital meeting Friday. (Screen shot)
Labour Minister says Surrey businesses’ resilience through pandemic ‘impressive’

‘Surrey’s effort in bending the curve has been among the best,’ Harry Bains says

Volunteers from Semiahmoo Secondary joined with members of the Lower Mainland Green Team and the White Rock and South Surrey Naturalists Wednesday to remove invasive plants from White Rock’s Ruth Johnson Park. (Contributed photo)
Students, volunteers remove invasive plants from White Rock’s Ruth Johnson Park

Day-long project a collaboration between city, Lower Mainland Green Team

Raj Singh Toor (left) with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudea after an official apology for the treatment of Komagata Maru passengers in 1914. (Contributed photo)
Request made for City of White Rock to honour Komagata Maru passengers

Raj Singh Toor confident city will rename ‘street, park or city asset’ in honour of 1914 tragedy

Cloverdale robbery suspect. (Surrey RCMP photo)
Man charged in relation to four separate robberies in Cloverdale

Jake Eric Henderson allegedly committed four gas station robberies in January

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

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

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Chief Don Tom of the Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA reveals COVID-19 outbreak

Tsartlip First Nation chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA apologizes

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Most Read