Neighbourhoods in action
These neighbourhood groups are just some of the many that have taken their ideas from concept to fruition. Whether working together on an enrichment project or community event, these residents have all contributed to improving the quality of life in their neighbourhoods.
The Strong Neighbourhoods Project helped one block in downtown Kelowna stage an amazing get together in their back alley! Through the Neighbourhood Grant program residents came together with a chef living on the block to get to bond over risotto. A few days later one participant reported:
"We are still feeling and enjoying the effect of it. It feels great to walk down our back alley and really realize how our event did make a difference in growing our neighbourhood spirit. Now it's time to cultivate these relationships until our next neighbourhood dinner!"
The Kelowna Downtown Knox Mountain Neighbourhood Association and residents got together to beautify a street corner in their neighbourhood. In one neighbour's words, "This project gave community association members a chance to work together for the day doing something fun in the outdoors. There was a great sense of community spirit as neighbours worked side by side. Some were meeting each other for the first time, others enjoying socializing with neighbours they already knew. Everyone pitched in fantastically in both the planning and implementation. A lot can be accomplished with many hands."
Residents of the Southcrest neighbourhood decided it was time to get to know their neighbours better. With a small grant from the neighbourhood grant program they hosted an afternoon potluck!
"...It was so refreshing to have the Strong Neighbourhoods team attend with so many fun and necessary resources; it definitely enhanced the positive effect on the Block party. Everyone had a fantastic time and new friendships have been struck across the whole neighbourhood. Mission achieved!"
With the help of a Neighbourhood Grant, a group of neighbours built a beautiful little free library box, which is a great way to recycle old books while creating opportunities to get to know other neighbours. The group went one step further, hosting an amazing launch party for their project, giving the opportunity for residents to interact with one another and learn about using their new neighbourhood amenity.
"People were engaged with the process and even more after installation... People are coming by many times a week looking at the library. People that I have never seen before have come by as well."
Neighbours got together at Roxby Square for a big day of resident-organized art events with support from the Neighbourhood Grant program. Painting, soap stone carving, and other creative activities kept residents young and old occupied and smiling from start to finish!
"Many people were happy to see the park being used for an event and expressed that they would like to see more of these things in Rutland. Once the event was in full swing, the highlight was sitting back and watching people of all ages playing together and having fun."
The KLO Neighbourhood Association hosted a local event with a few goals in mind. First, they wanted neighbours to meet one another. Second, they were interested in cleaning up a local waterway. Third, they wanted to promote the work of the Neighbourhood Association and recruit new members.
"Information provided was excellent, and several people signed up to help at future events! Many neighbours met new neighbours and got to know everyone better."
The neighbourhood surrounding Lake Avenue Beach Access used Strong Neighbourhoods programs for a series of events to enhance inclusivity and positivity on the public waterfront.
"The project succeeded in encouraging more neighbourhood usage of the beach and park as well as introducing neighbours to each other. This all resulted in the neighbourhood becoming stronger and more interactive ... The highlight was the almost 100 neighbours who attended the Beach Warming Potluck".
With assistance from the Neighbourhood Events program more than 300 residents gathered at Willow Park Church South for a potluck, games, and much more.
"It was a non-intimidating environment. We had a group of people who made the effort to connect others who were less outgoing. We had activities that encouraged engagement and creativity!"
Residents of The Ponds decided to take advantage of Kelowna's beautiful summer weather and throw a block party supported by the Neighbourhood Events program.
"The [Strong Neighbourhoods] team really go above and beyond what one would expect. We used all the resources available and without them it would have been a very hard and costly thing to pull this kind of event together. Getting the invites & posters was great along with the event kit of course too- I also got advice on the time of day, best location and overall planning of the event which was so helpful. Our neighbourhood was really impressed with this program!"
To get residents together to talk about safety and other local issues, the neighbours of Capri Street threw a block party with the assistance of the Neighbourhood Grants program!
"It was incredible. Many of us have lived in the neighbourhood for several years but had never met ... Many neighbours have kids and this was the first time they had seen all the kids come together in our park. Almost all the neighbours commented that they were shocked at how many kids actually live in the neighbourhood! We made lasting connections and will maintain those connections through Facebook."
Over thirty students and other UBCO volunteers joined the Parks Department and Central Okanagan Naturalists Club to help identify and remove noxious weeds and protect trees from beavers in Chichester and Munson Pond Parks. Through the event the new students enjoyed new experiences while getting out into their local area. This initiative was supported by the Neighbourhood Events program.
This event was designed by neighbours to bring local residents and businesses together to build personal relationships using the Neighbourhood Grant program. Over 120 residents came out that day and both residents and businesses grew more neighbourly as a result. Helping remove boundaries and strengthen connections is what the Strong Neighbourhoods Project considers is a smashing success!
"We received positive response from neighbours the following week. The purpose was to bring neighbours together so that as we pass each other, we will have a sense of knowing each other. With the dynamic of an older community in the trailer park at one end of the street and a condominium neighbourhood at the opposite end of the street, this was the first time these communities gathered together."
Even with rain threatening a great time was had at the Lombardy Park Block Party! The Neighbourhood Events Program chipped in with tents, a bouncy castle and other games and equipment.
"One of my neighbours collects bottles and cans ... He always seems so focused that I’ve never approached him or said hello ... A few days later he was biking past our house, bags full of bottles and cans, focused intently on his destination. This time I called out his name and he spun his bike around and pulled up on my lawn to have chat. He shared about where he had come from, what he was doing now and how thankful he was to receive that personalized invitation to our block party. I often think that our block party is a good opportunity for my young sons to learn about community and doing life with those who live around you. This year I realized that this is a lesson that I am still learning."
Community groups and neighbours from around the Okanagan Mission Community Hall organized a Pancake Breakfast with Santa. The local Girl Guides, Mission Lions Club, and Neighbourhood Grant program all helped to provide a happy holiday atmosphere for neighbours to connect and meet together. The focus was to promote a fun family event that helped to support the local Food Bank Toy Drive with toy donations for the holiday season!
Working with the Neighbourhood Events Program, the Glenmore Valley Community Association threw their fifth annual event for local residents. Additionally, the Association used the event to help build awareness of their group and ask other residents what their neighbourhood needs to be even better!
The residents of Woodland Crescent came together and constructed a micro library in their neighbourhood for everyone to enjoy! With help from a Neighbourhood Grant, they also led a celebration event for the opening of this library, and made great connections with others in the process.
The Greens Community, assisted by a Neighbourhood Grant, provided opportunities to engage seniors through informative and relevant workshops, beginning with xeriscape basics. This series provided a positive social atmosphere for all neighbours to feel welcome and meet new people.
This year marked the 7th annual Terrace Drive Potluck gathering. The residents of Terrace Drive worked with the Neighbourhood Events program to bring families and friends together for a fun potluck event! Neighbours shared food and gained the opportunity to get to know others in the neighbourhood.
The Ayre Ave Neighbourhood planned a block party event with surrounding streets and neighbours to bring everyone together for food and games. The Neighbourhood Events team helped to block off Ayre Ave in order for families to safely enjoy the road for a day, and have the space to meet and greet new people!
Cantina Court residents, assisted by the Neighbourhood Events program helped to get neighbours and families to come together to mingle and get to know each other better. Children's activities and parent participation helped bring families together, and allowed everyone to enjoy the park!
Soil Mate helped to bring families and friends out for a fall picnic amongst the apple and peach trees. This event focused on building education for local farming and food initiatives, as well as fun for everyone with music, games and activities! The Neighbourhood Events team helped to supply some games and activities in support of this great event.