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What is The Social Planning Council?


o Monthly Meetings: Attend meetings with guest speakers from within the community &/or presentations at each meeting. We currently meet the fourth Monday of every month (excluding summer) at City Hall with light lunch by donation.

o Facebook & Email Group: Utilize the network on Facebook. Start discussions, learn about & share upcoming community events, projects and meetings. If you don’t use Facebook, then join the email network instead.

o Inform City Council: The SPC provides reports to City Council regularly and the City keeps the SPC informed. Use the network and have your voices heard.

Strategic Direction of the Social Planning Council of Williams Lake & Area:

o Poverty Reduction and the local Living Wage Campaign.

o Community Collaboration and Networking.

o Retention and Succession of residents within the Area.

Community Social Planning:

o Supports communities in building an integrated approach to complex problems that take into account social, economic, and environmental concerns.

o Maximizes the effectiveness of often scarce resources by working to reduce duplication, overlap and competition.

o Provides an ongoing forum for communication, coordination and conflict resolution.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

SPC Monthly Meeting Minutes (draft) - Jun 25, 2018

Location: Community Futures Office, Williams Lake, BC
In attendance (from sign-in sheet): Shannon Thom, Melissa Newberry, Ashlee Hyde, Carla Bullinger, Jessica Dunn, Marianne Halberstadt, Laura Klassen, Anne Burrill, Larry Stranberg, Tracey Elkins, Beth Veenkamp.

Accept Minutes & Agenda
During lunch we:
·   Reviewed meeting agenda for Jun 25, 2018
MOTION to accept agenda as presented; seconded, all in favour, CARRIED.
·   Reviewed meeting minutes from May 28, 2018
MOTION to accept minutes as presented; seconded, all in favour, CARRIED.

Guest Speaker & Thrive Williams Lake Update
Tracey Elkins, Shannon Thom, Jessica Dunn and Anne Burrill reflected on and shared their experiences from attending the Cities Innovating to Reduce Poverty Summit in Vancouver by the Tamarack Institute (http://events.tamarackcommunity.ca/crp-west).

Shannon Thom
-Networking is so valuable. As a front line worker, how can I directly assist ongoing efforts?
-Smaller community examples were very informative
-Alignment with Provincial and Federal strategies will be important for efforts.
-Good place to bring creative and innovative people and organizations together.
-Tamarack - large umbrella organization (top down focused at times).

Anne Burrill
Tamarack - currently focused on the alignment of organizations that are working on poverty reduction initiatives. Momentum is causing traction and there is a bigger impact when collectively working together.

This summit was focused on the western region of Canada.

Vancouver Foundation gave us community partner funding which enabled us to take two extra people from the SPC (Jessica and Shannon).Thank-you to them for this experience.

Logistically it was challenging at times.

Shane Simpson discussed the provincial consultations (in 28 communities, and 27 Friendship centres). They will publish a report shortly, and introduce legislation in the fall. The strategy will be announced with the next provincial budget.
Advisory Group - 27 people on this, as well as a business table and many other roundtables.

Twelve priority areas - Housing is the biggest.

Four Provincial themes: Affordability, opportunity, social inclusion, and reconciliation.

Message - Working harder won't solve this, throwing more money at this won't solve this, we need to work together.

Lesson - Focus on the positive too (85% of people in Canada do not live in poverty... can we get this to 90%?).

Small achievable tasks: Increasing uptake of benefits that already exist e.g. ensuring all eligible people are receiving child care benefits (people must have completed their taxes), RRSP uptake for children (only 40% approx take advantage of this currently).

Thrive update (summary):
Chamber presentation last week (no technology support).
Note - Larry and/or Melissa Newberry have projectors available for future presentations.
Great job - The diversity of what poverty can look like was well articulated.
Flipping the subject on it's head (and focusing on the positive!) was inspiring too.

Tracey Elkins
Moving back, realized I was living in poverty. Proud person, didn't want to ask for help.
Eye opener - lots of people working on this (unexpected).
Northern communities (Yellowknife Sobriety Home - quite a process to get completed)  - utilized reconciliation to get this completed.
Everyone working towards same goal.

Jessica Dunn
Honorable Shane Simpson made it clear the very first morning that reducing poverty is everyone's responsibility. He said "My Ministry will fail if it's left to my Ministry. We need local government who is close to the ground in it's communities."

I participated in two workshops:

The first was entitled "The Role of Municipalities in Poverty Reduction" (with Kate Gunn, City of Edmonton) which was about Edmonton's journey transitioning from a City task force to a community driven collective - grown out of the Task force and rooted in community. I took this session in hopes of learning how to engage our local government more in the process of our current poverty reduction project, Thrive Williams Lake.

I learned what the City of Edmonton is doing to "End Poverty in a Generation - A Strategy" (approved Dec 15, 2015 by Edmonton City Council). This is a 30 years project with five year plans at a time. This strategy outlines five goals with thirty-five milestones for tracking progress for the period of 2017 - 2021. Note - I have hardcopies available for reading, and or you can find the information online.

Key points to mention regarding "End Poverty Edmonton"
-The critical driving force behind the movement gaining the sheer momentum it did, was the endorsement and commitment by the Mayor of Edmonton. These movements have existed for generations, but for one to really "take off" it needs a big figurehead. As one person noted (in the morning session: "Leadership roundtables often lead the way for mayors and local government to take stewardship of such initiatives." (Adam Vasey).

-Related to the above point, the roles of the City include: Convenor and Catalyst, Stakeholder and Investor, and Incubator and Advocate.

-The City was able to single handedly meet 18 milestones within it's one organization.

-The City of Edmonton involves their First Nations communities in the planning and implementation of this strategy. As one person in the session pointed out, there are actually four levels of government that can be working together- why not utilize them all? (Federal, Provincial, Municipal, and local First Nations).

The second workshop was called "Toward a National Network of Lived Experience Practitioners: A Dialogue" (with the Saskatoon Poverty Reduction Coalition) which created a reciprocal learning environment for people with and without lived experience of poverty to dialogue on meaningful engagement and the value of a national loved experience network. I took this session in hopes to better understand the importance of a lived experience perspective while working on poverty reduction strategies.

I learned much more than I expected at this session beginning with the catchphrase: "Nothing about us without us!"  In summary, if you want to know what it is like to live blind, you wouldn't speak with sighted persons. Oddly enough, when lifting people out of poverty is the subject, the actual people living in poverty are most times not consulted, or involved in any capacity.

There are a number of reason given for this, most of them related to stereotypes (e.g. Words from the presenter included - "assuming poor people are stupid, dirty, or lazy"). While this might be true for a small subset of the population, as one person pointed out - many rich people are stupid and lazy themselves, paining all people of one group with one brush is not conducive to inclusive solutions.

I also learned of the great variety in lived experience voices - there is so much to learn because no two people living in poverty have the same story. There is such diversity in this lens - from people living in generational poverty, to the previously successful business man turned alcoholic, to the suddenly single widow gone bankrupt with no skills to fall back on. Every single situation is different and solutions will/may also have to vary.

Monetary compensation is also an important factor in involving people with lived experience. This is because many cannot afford to even attend one meeting without financial hardship. A transportation cash allowance of ten dollars (no receipts required), as well as in-house childcare for those with children make a large difference in their participation. Note - The Saskatoon Poverty Reduction Coalition has a policy level MOU with social services to not have to report who the cash participation honorariums are paid to.

On day two there was another panel session, a presentation on Social Innovation, the value of Lived Experience, and some feedback on the Federal strategy to be released shortly.  The afternoon focused on Measuring Impact in City Wide efforts to reduce poverty.

The high cost of poverty was also highlighted:

Poverty is very costly to a community
Poverty reduction saves tax payer money
High social return on investment (SROI)
Common language (helps pull in groups to work together eg. Faith groups play a large role)
Rural dividend funds.

Overall, attending this summit was a very valuable and inspiring experience.

Discussions that followed:

-Q: What is the difference between the terms "affordable housing" and "subsidized housing" (30% of income goes towards housing costs).
A: It often depends on the audience (e.g. housing affordability, attainable housing).

-Financial literacy and predatory lending - both are important to lifting people out of poverty.

-The CCPL has a wonderful facilitator for Financial Literacy workshops and if this could be built into the Thrive Williams Lake project, this would provide a strong benefit to the community.

-Thrive Williams Lake - has a facebook page - please LIKE it and share the word.

-There are lots of online tools for financial planning too (e.g. budget apps).

-Seeing and touching are also important learning tools (e.g. learning with coloured blocks from "back in the day").

-Business engagement component - City of Nelson Councillor "Who are the greatest employers in Nelson?" then invited the main players to lunch (panel style). This is an alternate strategy to a Living Wage discussion. E.g. created $500 fund for extended benefit usage (so employees could access benefits), Airmiles - employer bought supplies with airmiles and donated them to an employee (by draw) each year.

-Good news stories are needed... share good news often!

ACTION - Send a thank-you letter to the Vancouver Foundation with our expense report/invoice.

Thank-you for sharing your experiences - there is a real richness in four perspectives.

Summer Survey
This summer, we want to create a survey asking members and the public to provide feedback on making SPC meetings this following year valuable for all levels of community engagement across sectors and we encourage you to participate.

Discussions that followed:
Youth focused (listen to the youth). Many decisions are made without input from the next generation. It would be harder to get them at the table during school. Landscape in the schools is changing.

Connect Leadership class from the local high schools. Reminder - it is important to have a purpose for engagement and to prepare youth to participate. (must be meaningful for them). And to follow up with them - let them know their voice was heard.

School guidance counsellor - could they attend on behalf of their students? This position is very demanding and they usually don't have extra time. We might have to go to them.

The last 6 months or so has seen a great shift in our participation with business. We are starting to move in positive directions.

Roundtable Updates

Ashlee Hyde (United Way) - 1) July 7th, the Mental Health and Wellness working group is putting on a Cariboo Strong Free pancake breakfast. Entertainment and breakfast - at the Recreation Complex. Share the word - this event is coming up quickly. 2) Job Creation partnership - for fire smarting properties for seniors and low mobility residents. One for each community. Job description for Team Leaders was read. Participants must have an open file with WorkBC and will gain experience in this field (on EI currently or within the last 5 years). Tripartite agreement (with the Govt of BC). Looking to fill the supervisory roles - regular employment position.
Diane Wright - Williams Lake Garden Club Tours - tickets at Beaver Valley feeds, or checkout their facebook page. Spend a day touring local gardens in and around our area!

Carla Bullinger (CCPL) - programs wrap up for the summer. Settlement services are still open all summer long.

Melissa Newberry (BBBS)- Big Brothers Big Sisters is in recruitment mode - adult, youth, seniors for in-school mentoring programs in the fall. They are also hosting an information evening to encourage seniors to participate.  Group programming is also looking for volunteers (classroom sessions over an eight week period).

Shannon Thom (Horton Ventures & Workplace BC)- Community asset mapping is taking place. Request for proposals should be issued mid July.

Anne Burrill - July 7th - Youth fiddlers arriving from Halifax (Williams Lake youth fiddlers will be visiting Halifax in the fall as part of the exchange program). Barndance - July 14th (look for tickets).

Larry Stranberg - donation from the United Way to the SPC in the amount of $1000 - thank-you to the United Way.

Motion to adjourn the meeting was made, seconded, all in favour, and CARRIED. The next SPC meeting will be held on Monday, Sept 24, 2018. 

                       Funding support for the Social Planning Council is provided by the United Way & City of Williams Lake

1 comment:

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Contact Us

The Social Planning Council is made up of volunteers from the community. Many of us work in social services agencies or also volunteer for other organizations.

Our Mailing Address is Box 20045, Williams Lake BC V2G 4R1

To reach the Society Coordinator Jessica Dunn please email spc-coordinator@xplornet.com or call 250-243-2126

To reach the Communities that Care Project Facilitator Barb Jones please email communitiesthatcare.wl@gmail.com or call 250-305-4838

To reach the THRIVE Williams Lake Project Manager Anne Burrill please email annelburrill@gmail.com or call 250-267-7211

To reach the current SPC Chair Larry Stranberg please email happytrails@cfdccariboo.com or call 250-392-3626