Block connector program
Our Strong Neighbourhoods team created the Block Connector program in 2020 to further support our residents in building a sense of community in Kelowna’s neighbourhoods.
Block connectors are residents committed to connecting face-to-face with the closest 10-20 households on their block or apartment floor, learning more about who lives on their block and building connections. They’re dedicated to animating the block, building connections with and among neighbours, hosting socials to bring neighbours together and inspiring neighbours to share their gifts, skills, passions and talents with each other.
The core role of a block connector is to inspire engagement with friends and neighbours within the block
By becoming a block connector, you will join a larger community effort that aims to build a sense of community and connectedness on every street, apartment and condo complex in Kelowna.
If this sounds intriguing to you, we would love to hear from you! Block connectors have access to ideas, resources and a supportive team. People committed to becoming a block connector will receive a welcome package and be invited to two 90-minute training sessions.
As a block connector, you will be encouraged to:
- Help neighbours connect through an activity at least once a year
- Attend a series of virtual training sessions that will support Block Connectors in their role
- Act as a point person, party person and listener for your street, apartment or condo complex.
- Point person: The “go-to” person for your block who keeps neighbours updated about block and neighbourhood life. You might put together a block contact list to help neighbours get connected.
- Party person: The event organizer who initiates block social gatherings such as BBQs and block parties once or twice a year, or coordinate opportunities for neighbours to get involved and help lead
- Listener: The attentive person who asks neighbours about their ideas for the neighbourhood, what pastimes they would enjoy doing with neighbours and the skills and gifts they would be willing to share with the block/neighbourhood
The block connector program is a grassroots initiative with a simple but powerful purpose of helping neighbours get to know one another better. By having a dedicated person on the block to help build and maintain connections among neighbours, people are more likely to feel included, welcomed and connected with a sense of belonging within their neighbourhood.
Have you ever needed to borrow a ladder? Ask for help with a garden project? Needed someone to house sit while you’re away? The answer may be your neighbours. It can be a cost-effective way to support one another.
Interactions among and between neighbours can have profound effects on an individual’s sense of safety, well-being and belonging and help shape community identity and resiliency. When people know the skills, passions and talents of those around them, they feel more confident in directly connecting with neighbours for support.
Those who register for the block connector program will have access to Community of Practice (CoP) sessions. The CoP sessions are small, interactive groups of block connectors who connect virtually every month to share experiences, tools and ideas in order to connect and build community on their block.
Some of the topics covered in past CoP sessions include:
- Building FireSmart communities
- Organizing block parties
- Neighbourhood-level emergency preparedness
- Crime prevention through environmental design
- Strong Neighbourhoods' grant program
- Social development
- Asset-based community development
In partnership with the City's community safety department, the block connector program also provides crime education and training to program participants. Residents learn to increase awareness and sense of safety within their neighbourhoods, utilizing prevention strategies that seek to reduce the risk of crime and victimization.
Visit the community safety webpage to learn more about:
- Bike theft prevention
- Frauds and scams
- Protecting your property
- Conducting a basic property assessment
Information sessions provide you with all the information you need before signing up to become a block connector. In this one hour snapshot, learn more about the Strong Neighbourhoods program, the Block Connector opportunity and easy ways to get to know the people around you.
Upcoming info session:
Date: Tuesday, February 28
Time: 6 - 7 p.m.
*You will receive a link to the virtual meeting once registered.