Strong Community Value is Stemming From Belonging Brant. And That Needs to Stay, Says Member

By Deron Hamel

If you ask Zile Ozols what she appreciates most about Belonging Brant, she’ll tell you it’s the initiative’s inclusive nature and the way members take on each project with a team-led approach.

This unique concept is also helping deliver strong value to the local community, Zile says.

Through her role as a staff member at Brantford Public Library, Zile says she directs community members and organizations to Belonging Brant if they’re looking for projects that other organizations might not take on due to challenges with staffing, funding or resources.

“Belonging Brant has made it so much easier for people to start their own groups (and) activities by being a support in navigating the logistics.”

“The community is looking for the types of groups and activities that Belonging Brant participants lead,” Zile says.

“Belonging Brant has made it so much easier for people to start their own groups (and) activities by being a support in navigating the logistics.”

Funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, 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 the community.

Because Belonging Brant brings lots of value-add to the local community, it’s important that the initiative has long-term sustainability, Zile says.

One possible way she says this could be achieved would be to establish a stable volunteer base to directly support a paid Belonging Brant team and for these volunteers to their share knowledge and skills with the community.

Zile says this could distribute workloads evenly and create wider networks which could lead to community projects being completed more quickly.

“People (would know more) people throughout the community,” she says. “People (would look) for ways to get things done instead of waiting for someone else to do them.”

To help make her vision of a more sustainable Belonging Brant possible, Zile says there could be opportunities to use space Brantford Public Library has to offer.

The library might also be able to help support some projects that align with their mission and vision, she notes.

From her end, Zile says she’d be willing to volunteer her time outside of work to help support Belonging Brant.

For her, Belonging Brant is an initiative worth supporting, Zile says.

“It is a great resource, service and support for our community, and it would definitely be missed if it no longer ran.”

Lead photo features participants of a recent Belonging Brant walk. Photo courtesy of the Belonging Brant Instagram page.


Be A Newsmaker!

What If Belonging Brant Became a Lasting Community Beacon?

Belonging Brant is already a light in our community. It is the place to be. With three years under our belt and our initial funding coming to an end this October, we have the opportunity to fashion our future anew. We’d love to hear what you’ve loved about Belonging Brant, what you’d like for it to become, and what you might like to do to make that dream come true. Consider taking a few minutes to share your answers to these questions.


Join our mailing list to to receive a bi-weekly newsletter containing invitations and media related to Community Living Brant.


Leave a reply