By Deron Hamel
While the funding Belonging Brant has received from the Ontario Trillium Foundation will end in September, the community initiative wants to continue the great work it does.
So, on Jan. 25, Belonging Brant turned it’s community to learn what they had to offer to help keep Belonging Brant thriving.
Twenty-nine people turned up in person and via Zoom to share what they’ve learned from engaging with Belonging Brant as well as what they would be interested in doing to help the project keep going after September.
“If there’s one thing the pandemic has taught us it’s that even when institutions stop, citizens keep going.”
Belonging Brant is dedicated to creating connections and building relationships across Brantford and Brant County to help people contribute to their community in a meaningful way.
The project, which creates and encourages citizen-led initiatives, is particularly focused on creating opportunities for human connection and decreasing the isolation faced by so many in community.
So, why did people attend the gathering? There were a variety of reasons cited by attendees, who met in small groups throughout the gathering.
Some said they wanted to learn more about their community and community development. Others said they wanted to meet people with shared interest in making Brantford a better place for everyone. Others said they enjoy hearing about the success stories Belonging Brant has garnered.
“Citizens have amazing gifts they can share,” said one participant.
Participants also said they have gained insights important to community building since becoming involved with the project, such as asset mapping — the process of discovering who has what strengths or talents in a community — as well as how to connect and empower people.
Looking ahead, participants offered their own skills and gifts to help keep Belonging Brant going after September.
Offers came in to help with grant writing and social media. One participant said they would be willing to help solicit local businesses for support with community initiatives. Another participant said they had outdoor space Belonging Brant could use for events.
As the gathering drew to a close, participants were thanked for their interest and input, and one of the Belonging Brant team leaders noted how the high level of engagement the project has received, along with its successes, are reflective of the times.
“If there’s one thing the pandemic has taught us it’s that even when institutions stop, citizens keep going,” they said.
What are Your 2022 Lessons Learned and Hopes for 2023?
Whether you work for Community Living Brant, access Community Living Brant services, or are a stakeholder connected to the organization, we would like to extend an invitation to join a story series we are launching. We’d love it if you take a few minutes to share your answers to these questions.
Lead image: Graphic reflections from the Jan. 25 Belonging Brant: Looking to the Future gathering sketched live by Yvonne Hollandy. Click on the image to view the full graphic.
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