Neighbourhood Small Grants Project Leaders gather with NSG Coordinator Rowena Locklin (bottom row, left) to celebrate a successful year of projects.
On a Saturday afternoon in Quadra Village, a roomful of residents gathered to celebrate community. These residents were participants of the 2016 Neighbourhood Small Grants program, a joint initiative of the Victoria Foundation and Vancouver Foundation, in partnership with the Quadra Village Community Centre.
Earlier in the year, they applied for grants of up to $500 to lead a project in the Hillside Quadra neighbourhood, providing opportunities for neighbourhood connection and engagement, sharing of skills and knowledge, celebrating diversity, and building a sense of ownership and pride in the community. In all, 16 projects took place in this cycle of the program in Victoria.
As we know from recent Victoria’s Vital Signs® reports and other sources, our community wellbeing is strengthened when people feel a sense of belonging and engagement in the place they live. A key goal of the Neighbourhood Small Grants program is to encourage and develop those feelings of connection to community – whether it’s connecting neighbours on the same block, connecting people across cultures, or connecting people in need of support to others in the community who can help them to thrive.
November 26th saw the culmination of the second cycle of this program. Project leaders and mentors gathered to share their experiences of organizing and leading their projects, and to celebrate the significant achievements of the group in building neighbourhood connection and resiliency.
Project Leader Shazia Rashid speaks at the Neighbourhood Small Grants wrap-up.
We learned about a project to gather ‘friendly crafters’ and another to teach adventure skills to kids. Some projects shared lessons about Islam, while others educated the community about Rock Bay Creek and other urban watersheds.
Rain or shine, through home renovations, mobility limitations and work commitments, the neighbourhood came together to learn, connect and celebrate. One project leader, who organized Singing in the Streets, recalled how their musical event drew people from their homes onto the street to eat, sing and dance together.
As we learned about each project, one thing was clear – these Neighbourhood Small Grants provided a platform for residents to share experiences, cultures, diversity and talents. Through this shared experience, similarities between neighbours were highlighted and differences melted away.
Project Leader Hussein Dahab speaks of projects around Multiculturalism and Human Rights