Neighbourhoods are at the heart of community life. Physical environments are the foundation for our health and wellness and our ability to thrive. For many people, where they live does the opposite: they are dangerous, unsupportive, or isolating.
Five years ago, United Way of Calgary and Area, The City of Calgary, and Rotary Clubs of Calgary joined forces in a unique partnership to help make Calgary a better place for everyone to live through the Community Hubs Initiative. They identified five neighbourhoods and activated all Community Hub sites by 2018.
Since then, Community Hubs have been integral pieces of Calgary’s neighbourhood-building work, ensuring that residents have a place to go for support and easy access to a network of resources and services. On top of that, Hubs are welcoming and inclusive gathering places, giving residents a physical place to go for programming or just to say hello to neighbours.
As the initiative passes the five-year mark, United Way has released a cumulative report on progress that highlights the achievements of Hubs, the partnership that has guided it to date, and the path forward for the initiative.
“Working together with The City and Rotary has been an incredible experience. Each partner has brought a wealth of knowledge that has made the initiative richer and more positive. I know the Hubs are a success because of the people we had around the table, supporting the thousands of Calgarians that access Hub sites every year,” said Karen Young, President and CEO, United Way of Calgary and Area.
The initiative has four long-term identified outcomes that focus on capacity-building for leadership, supportive relationships and connections to the community, easy access to supports, services, networks, and resources, and improving economic participation.
The report outlines the breadth of progress in each of these areas, from the 41,578 people who have participated in leadership skills-building activities, the 422 activities focused on community connectedness, 47,939 people focused on access to services, and the 150 activities focused on economic participation. More than numbers, the report also shares important stories from residents, Community Social Workers (CSWs), and Hub Site Leads that demonstrate the human impact that the Initiative has in their areas.
Looking ahead, United Way has launched the Community Hubs Strategy 2022-2026, renewing the commitment and vision of the Initiative. Community Hubs have proven themselves to be more than a project – they are an entire approach to community building in Calgary that are redefining what a neighbourhood can be.
Explore the full report below:
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