Neighbourhood park clean ups, boulevard beautifications, little free libraries – these are just some of the great ways neighbours have come together to enhance their neighbourhoods with support from the City of Kelowna’s Strong Neighbourhoods Program.
“Strong neighbourhoods are the essence of a community. The sense of pride and connection is palpable when neighbours come together to make lasting improvements and create a unique sense of place,” said Mariko Siggers, Manager of Community & Neighbourhood Services.
“The Neighbourhood and Youth Development and Engagement Grants encourage residents to celebrate and develop their local skills, talents and interests to help make their neighbourhoods even better places to live, work and play.”
There are two upcoming grant intakes that residents can take advantage of to connect with neighbours and enhance their neighbourhoods.
The Neighbourhood Grant provides support for Kelowna residents to plan and implement neighbourhood enhancing projects and initiatives. Matching grants of up to $1,000 are available with winter project applications due Nov. 4.
This summer, residents in a Lower Mission community planned a renewal for the 29-year-old masonry wall that surrounds their neighbourhood. “The majority of the preparation and repair work was completed by neighbourhood teams,” said Kelly Hanna, neighbourhood project coordinator. “Never underestimate the handyman skills of a firefighter, nor the strength and endurance of the happily-retired. The team work, community building, and brand new wall were all incredibly rewarding outcomes.”
So far in 2016, 15 projects have been supported and implemented ranging from the development of a neighbourhood safety strategy to creating a neighbourhood directory, to establishing little free libraries.
Youth Development and Engagement Grant
This grant program is geared toward youth between the ages of 13 and 19, empowering them to develop and implement projects that contribute to their neighbourhood’s vitality. The deadline to apply for a matching grant of up to $1,000 is Nov. 25. Residents are invited to attend a Youth Development and Engagement Grant information session on Monday, Oct. 24 at 4:30 p.m. at the Parkinson Recreation Centre.
The first Youth Development and Engagement Grants were supported and implemented in early 2016. They included a family-friendly event showcasing recreational opportunities within a neighbourhood and the offering of a technology resources and tablet basics course to a neighbourhood seniors centre.
“We appreciated the ongoing mentorship and coaching through the project, especially at its most difficult points,” said one youth grant recipient. “We would really like to do this project again next year and build on the project to be even better!”
To apply for a Neighbourhood Grant, view past grant projects or to learn more about the Youth Development and Engagement Grant, visit kelowna.ca/neighbourhoods or email firstname.lastname@example.org.