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Forming a Foundation to Build Great Things

Posted on July 19, 2019
By Heather Keam

Building FoundationWe understand that we need to bring a group of people together when we want to start a new project or develop a strategy. We go out and ask people we know, put an invitation in the local paper and hope people show up. Then we jump right into the “doing” and don’t spend time building the foundations of a good team or leadership group. This focus on results over process often leads to the same issues - team members not sure why they are at the table, don’t help, never show up or no one takes ownership of the strategy. 

Building the case for any project takes time and effort to make sure that you have the right people, it’s a diverse group, and there is an understanding of what the project/activity is about and why they are at the table.

Building relationships and trust is the most important aspect of starting your activity or strategy. As such, we developed a step-by-step guide for building the case for a neighbourhood strategy which outlines a process for bringing together your municipality, neighbourhood service organizations, local retail and residents to build a common agenda to create a healthy, vibrant and happy neighbourhood. Developing a neighbourhood strategy will help to guide programs, initiatives and development within each neighbourhood so that it builds a greater sense of community. 

This guide outlines the first step in developing a neighbourhood strategy - building the case to your city staff, organization, group, residents and Council. To build the case, there are four areas that will help shape the “why” the neighbourhood needs to come together and develop a strategy.

Heather Engage Blog July

  • Determining your vision - Determine why a community needs a neighbourhood strategy, what is the motivation behind wanting to have a strategy?  Have issues precipitated the need?
  • Community Scan - Doing a community scan allows you to talk to residents in the neighbourhood, organizations, groups to determine the scale of the strategy and if there is support and potential champions. 
  • Engaging Stakeholders - Understand the level of resident support for the potential neighbourhood strategy and clearly communicate why it is important to have a strategy. You will need to think about different neighbourhood stakeholders, champions or partners whose opinions on the issue are important.
  • Leadership team - A leadership team will play a key role in overseeing the plan process. The key to a successful leadership team is to form a diverse group consisting of individuals that have the trust and respect of others in the community. 

The guide is divided in to four sections that provide questions, resources and tools to support groups through the process of building the case.  It is also the first of a four-part series that will walk groups through the process of developing a neighbourhood strategy.

Learn More:

Blog, Heather Keam, Cities Deepening Community

Heather Keam

By Heather Keam

Heather is happy to be part of the Vibrant Communities team as the Manager of Cities, Cities Deepening Community. Before this position she was the Manager of Learning Services where she organized Community of Practices, learning opportunities, tools and resources for community change. Heather brings over 12 years of public health knowledge to this position.

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