HC Link collects community stories from across the province to identify and showcase the great work and experiences of community groups and organizations in Ontario as well as support mutual learning in the area of healthy communities. Entries in our community story bank are listed below. Follow the links to read the full story.
Community Story Bank
Every two years, HC Link works with local community organizations and groups to plan and co-host regional gatherings across the province that meet the needs of each region’s communities. This story highlights the experience and results of planning and co-hosting a successful community-building event in the region of Timiskaming, together with the District of Timiskaming Social Services Administration Board and the City of Temiskaming Shores.
In 2013, a Toronto-based group of registered dietitians and health promoters envisioned a cooking and nutrition program for boys ages 13 to 18. The result was the Guys Can Cook! project, which provided a skill-building program in a peer-supported, interactive environment. Three years of partnership and collaboration between the interdisciplinary team has resulted in a complex and flavourful dish and a number of key learnings. This story presents their recipe for success for implementing a cooking and nutrition program for male youth.
In 2014, the Renfrew County Child Poverty Action Network received support from HC Link to help design and facilitate a community forum on child poverty and support creation of an action plan. About a year later, Lyn reconnected with HC Link for further assistance with another community forum to start work on the creation of a county-wide poverty reduction strategy.
In 2015, the Toronto Breastfeeding/Baby-Friendly Initiative Network was established to support a culture that promotes breastfeeding in Toronto. In this story, Jill Mather from Toronto Public Health talks about Network’s creation and how HC Link supported its inception by providing key information and facilitation support in the early days.
Jenilee Cook of the Woodstock and Area Community Health Centre talks about Oxford County’s Smile and Say Hello movement. This grassroots community-led initiative was created to increase community belonging by providing people with simple tools to help the community see each other and acknowledge that everyone matters.Read more
As part of its efforts to make “active living the easy choice for everyone”, the Timiskaming Health Unit decided to hold a forum that would bring community members together to identify their needs, perspectives and ideas related to physical activity and active living opportunities in the community. They contacted HC Link for support in planning and facilitating the event.
In the summer of 2014, with a municipal election coming up in the fall, Thunder Bay’s Walkability Committee launched an advocacy campaign with the goal of making councillors and the public aware of the importance of walkability. The campaign involved several components, including surveying all of the municipal candidates, educating the public, collecting community feedback, and hosting an event with City Council.
HC Link spoke with the Waterloo Region Food System Roundtable about its Food Spaces, Vibrant Places initiative - a community-based campaign that ran in 2014 to support the development of more temporary farmers' markets and community gardens within walking and transit access of where people live, work, and play in Waterloo Region.
Collaborative policy work provides backdrop for lasting community partnership in Peterborough County
What began as a working group of staff from nine Peterborough City and County municipalities to provide affordable and accessible recreation programs residents, evolved into an ongoing community partnership that offers opportunity for collaboration and networking and has given members a stronger collective voice.
HC Link recently worked with Action positive: VIH/sida, a non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to supporting French-speaking people and communities in Toronto who are living with, affected by or at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. In this interview, they explain the value of evaluating programs.
ARCH Disability Law Centre, a specialty community legal clinic dedicated to defending and advancing equality rights of people with disabilities in Ontario, was introduced to HC Link by attending one of its free webinars. Since 2012, ARCH has benefitted from a number of HC Link services.
In March 2013, local stakeholders gathered at Barrie’s Southshore Community Centre to participate in a full-day workshop, facilitated by HC Link consultant, Lisa Tolentino. The goal of the workshop was to increase local food security and a sustainable food system through collaborative community action.
The Middlesex-London Falls Prevention Collaborative is a newly formed committee brought together to work collaboratively to plan, implement and evaluate falls prevention activities across the care continuum in Middlesex-London. The Collaborative brings together a diverse group of individuals representing different sectors. Several months into its work, the Collaborative approached HC Link to request support with planning and facilitation of its work.
Since 2000, North Lanark Community Health Centre has run a highly popular and successful peer-led fitness program for seniors. While on the surface, it looks like fitness classes, digging deeper will reveal great examples of social support and inclusion which is tremendously important for many seniors in this very remote rural area with high levels of poverty and social isolation.
The Township of Rideau Lakes' journey toward the development of a policy to address affordable, accessible recreation started with the creation of a multi-sectoral Task Force. Even after completing the policy work, the group continues to work together to promote recreation opportunities within the community.
In early 2013, HC Link held a series of French forums across Ontario to provide a shared space to discuss and reflect on the needs of Francophone communities in Ontario. Two short video stories from the Chatham-Kent and Penetanguishene forums, present the reality of the Francophone community in these regions and throughout province.
In the summer of 2008, the City of Waterloo established its first Safe and Healthy Communities Advisory Committee. With a focus on "livability, neighbourhood capacity building and inclusion", the Committee has brought ahealthy community focus to the planning processes of the City of Waterloo.
Interactive Community Tours of Témiskaming is a community project that integrates mobile technology, culture, outdoor fitness and community involvement. It is an example of creativity, collaboration and innovation that uses modern technology to fulfill a community need while taking advantage of its cultural and environmental assets.
In a recent meeting with Jean-Rock Boutin, the founder of FrancoQueer, we discussed the recent progress made by the organization this fall, after FrancoQueer approached HC Link for a consultation on how the organization could structure activities to fulfill its strategic plan.
In June 2012, a wave of unease spread across Northern Ontario as Francophone communities wondered if their French language health services were at risk. These services were threatened by the application of the North East LHIN realignment plan in two districts. Approximately 40 agencies in the district of Cochrane, which have their own governance scheme, were to be restructured into five clusters. In Temiskaming, 20 agencies, including one Francophone agency, were being merged under a single cluster. With this action, these Francophone agencies had lost governance over their own affairs!
Our Healthy Communities approach evolved and grew out of our local Take Heart Partnership. A steering committee was formed to guide the 2010/11 planning and community consultation process required for the Ministry's Healthy Communities‐Partnership Stream. From the start, we agreed we would focus on local needs and that our scope and vision would extend beyond the Ministry's six priority areas.
Engaging Francophone Community Leaders for Strong, Resilient & Healthy Communities: West Nipissing & Sudbury East
During 2009 and 2010, members of the Verner and Noëlville Villages‐amis des aînés committee held many consultations to develop an action plan to support their Village‐amis des aînés initiatives in both Noëlville and Verner. Once the action plan was created, they found themselves stuck on how to implement the plan. While it contained many great ideas, there were few people to help implement the plan. The challenge was daunting....
There is increasing awareness of the health, social, economic and environmental beneﬁts associated with active transportation. There is also movement toward creating complete communities that encourage human‐powered transportation such as walking and cycling as part of everyday activity. A healthy community provides opportunies for sidewalks, trails, and bike lanes that are inviting, accessible, safe, and connected...
Statistics show that people in Northwestern Ontario are more likely than in any other part of the province, to drink alcohol to excess, binge drink, smoke cigarettes and cannabis or use prescription opioids non‐medically. In November 2011, the Northwestern Health Unit brought together mental health and substance abuse service providers, as well as other organizations and community members, together to explore and discuss the impact substance misuse has on their community with the guidance of HC Link consultant Cindee Richardson....
The Healthy Community Partnership strategy has provided a platorm for the Lanark, Leeds and Grenville Healthy Communities Partnership "to connect and collaborate" across their tri‐county area. Since October of 2010, I have worked with a core group of members to plan and orchestrate an extensive community consultation and engagement process....