Since the Neighbour Connect project launched, community members have been busy getting to know each other, one block at a time.
From the efforts of the project’s neighbourhood connector, summer students, and interns, 37 block parties were held over the summer, with an average of 15-20 people attending.
This fall and winter the work will continue, both indoors and outdoors.
“There’s quite a few things happening,” said Lenn Wheatley, neighbourhood connector.
Many of these events will take place at Alberta Avenue Community League.
On Tuesdays from 5 to 6 pm is a ladies’ freestyle workout night in the gym. Some equipment is provided, but participants can feel free to bring their own equipment. The gym is also available Thursday evenings for drop-in activities or programs if there is interest.
“Community league programs are a great way to meet new neighbours and do activities together with the neighbours you already know,” said Karen Mykietka, facility and program manager with Alberta Avenue Community League.
Alberta Avenue Community League members also have access to the Commonwealth Recreation Centre on Saturdays and Sundays.
“Take advantage of the community access time at Commonwealth Recreation Centre and invite neighbours to join you,” said Mykietka.
Continuing from last year is math tutoring for Grades 1 through 12 from 7:30 to 9 pm on Thursdays, as well the collective kitchen on Sundays, so far scheduled for Oct. 28, Nov. 25, and Dec. 16.
On Oct. 21, Neighbour Connect is organizing an intercultural night, which will be a banquet-style potluck.
“There will be music and a chance for people to connect around tables and share where they’re from. It will be a chance for people to share their stories. There’s a plurality of diversity in the area and we’re hoping to bring that diversity together.”
At some point, organizers also want to screen Won’t You Be My Neighbor? The plan, said Wheatley, is to hold monthly events, “ranging from banana split parties to waffle nights. We might go out to a cafe together and connect over coffee.”
Block parties aren’t just for summer, either. Neighbour Connect organizers will still be planning block parties in the winter, with the addition of firepits and hot chocolate or coffee. During the Halloween season, stay tuned for a Halloween block party by checking neighbourconnect.ca.
Safety will also be addressed in the form of community safety meetings addressing different topics and issues. The first one will be on Oct. 15 at 7 pm and will focus on home and property safety.
“Anyone who’s interested could be a representative of their block, join the discussion, and meet with police,” Wheatley said. Watch the league website and e-newsletter for signup and more information.
He said during block parties, many people talked about issues they’re facing.
“It’s the safety side of the project. Building a vibrant community and allowing children to play in front yards.”
The project is an important one for the community because it helps create change at the neighbourhood block level.
“Problems start in the community, but they can be solved in the community if neighbours can become more connected. Meaningful connections can lead to social change. Fun and exciting opportunities can be good for neighbours.”
Wheatley said neighbours can connect with each other over the winter very easily. It can be as simple as going next door and saying hello, or leaving a nice card to introduce yourself. Or, it can be more physical by helping one another out with shoveling and raking, especially if your neighbour is a senior.
“Invite your neighbour over for a cup of hot chocolate and get to know them,” suggested Wheatley. “Or connect with your neighbour at a community drop-in event at the league.”
Provide input on what you’d like to do with your neighbours and see what others would like to do by visiting neighbourconnect.ca and clicking on Neighbour Knowledge. Here you can share ideas for activities and give feedback.
Featured Image: Expect some events involving food, like banana split parties or waffle nights. | Supplied