SD62 partnership aims to find creative options for community service providers – Saanich News

Community groups and service providers are banding together to better serve growing western communities.

Called the Village Initiative, its premise is that “it takes a whole village to raise a child,” according to director Cindy Andrew. Andrew said the aim is to ensure there are enough public spaces for community groups to run programs for children.

When a survey was conducted last year on the ability of community groups to deliver services, 15 different groups said space was the biggest barrier to delivering services. Based on this survey, Andrew estimated that these groups could provide activities and services to 8,500 more people if there were more community spaces.

“Schools provide a vital service. In many ways, working in partnership with community partners to better meet needs makes good sense. So it’s not rocket science and it’s not like people haven’t collaborated – I think there’s just a recognition that with increased investment we need to look at how to do things differently to make sure we better meet needs and keep pace with growth. »

The Village Initiative is a network of more than 40 community service organizations, including the Sooke School District, Island Health and United Way South Vancouver Island, the organization’s primary funder. The organization was originally called Healthy Schools, Healthy People, but Andrew said that reduced the focus on schools too much.

The organization will not become a service provider itself, but Andrew said it is ready to advocate for more spaces and work to make more community spaces multipurpose and encourage community groups to share l ‘space.

“It will take people to be creative, it will take service providers to say we are ready, we will share space. The problem is that when you talk about services for children, youth and families, they often operate around the same time. So sharing space – it’s a challenge – but I think there’s, there’s a need for us to be creative in exploring doing things differently.

Andrew said the organization would try to work with all levels of government, but focus on local solutions.

“The one thing I think people need to think about – especially municipalities – are we keeping pace on the health and social planning front to develop our communities? And if not, we have to do it because there are flags on the pitch that indicate that we have work to do.

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LangfordSchoolsSD62West Shore

Jill E. Washington