REconnect Community Initiative Funding Grant
The impacts of Covid 19 have weakened social ties in our communities, and many people and families are now more isolated. This has led to worsening mental health, like depression and anxiety, and in some cases stress and family breakdown.
As part of FCSS Red Deer and District’s Emergent Funding Stream, the REconnect Community Initiative will support projects that reach out and build social connections between people, and stronger, more resilient communities. The focus is especially to reach those who are isolated, and to build new relationships between people.
To begin the recovery, we are offering a 6 week Community Leadership Program to support community members building stronger neighbourhoods. The program will also include a community-led project to engage or re-engage community to learn their strengths, to mobilize people around common interests, and to take action together.
Community Leadership Learning
All project leaders will learn together with other project leaders. Through a 6 week peer-learning program, they will share successes and struggles, and learn from each other as they begin their projects. The topics will depend on the group interest, but could include learning about your community, how to meet new people, and project planning and reporting.
Projects will focus on connecting people in their community, by listening to their passions, interests. Some of the ways of engaging may include:
Meeting 1:1: Sitting over an online coffee (or outdoors where safe)
Network Connections: Working through existing social networks, such as cultural or hobby based groups
Presence: Spending time to talk to people in places where they gather (outdoors to maintain distancing)
Engagement will give project leaders a better understanding of what motivates people in their communities, and what common activities might bring them together. Project leads only need a rough idea of their project to start, and will likely change it based on what they learn from listening to community.
Projects should focus on connecting people, in simple ways where they meet often and regularly. In this way relationships are not only deepened but sustained.
There is no limit to the things people could come together around. Some examples are:
- Peer support groups
- Cultural activities (community kitchens, inter-cultural potlucks)
- Outreach (welcome baskets for new residents)
- Community gardens, food markets
- Walking groups and Community Tours
- Public Place making – decorating public spaces, outdoor coffee and chat, etc.
- Learning and sharing local skills (murals, tool sharing, many others)
Community/project leaders must:
- Engage, plan and take action with people in your community
- Complete application and report forms
- Participate in learning activities with other community leaders
- Share your success with the community
- Be Community-Led
- This means that the project is led, inspired by, and organized by community members. While outside organizations can support projects, this grant is NOT intended for programs delivered by not-profit agencies or large-scale events, but funding for grassroots, locally driven citizen projects
- Have a minimum 2 people registered and committed to attending the entire 6-week community leadership learning series
- Focus on connecting people (especially those who are isolated) and creating new relationships
- Have capacity or experience to complete the project (e.g. Society status or partnered with an organization that has experience coordinating projects: Agencies, Community Associations, Municipalities)
- Begin after notification; projects are not funded retroactively
- Have no cost for participants
- If applications are coming from a group that had a grant previously, projects should have a new project lead from a person that is part of the community they plan to engage (e.g. if you are a Community Association trying to engage youth, a youth should be the project lead)
Project budgets will generally be in the $1,000-$10,000 range. Allowable/not allowable expenses are listed below.
There will be 2 intake times that applicants may apply: Spring Intake (April 14) and Fall Intake (September 15).
Spring projects must be completed by the end of 2023, and reports due by January 12, 2024. Fall projects should be completed by March 2024 and reports due April 12, 2024.
If you are interested please discuss your ideas with a Community Facilitator or Community Worker, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for an application form.