History and Q & A
Click on your question to jump to the answer.
- What is Headwaters Communities in Action trying to accomplish?
- Why is this project needed? Why now?
- Has this been done successfully in other communities?
- Why did you change your name from Dufferin Social Prosperity Project to Headwaters Communities in Action?
- How is Headwaters Communities in Action funded?
- Who is involved in Headwaters Communities in Action?
- There are so many community projects, how is yours different?
- What is Social Prosperity?
- What are you doing to achieve your goal?
- Why should I get involved?
Our ultimate goal is to create the conditions to support people living and working in the Headwaters area to achieve the best quality of life possible. We believe this goal will be achieved by creating strong and vibrant communities where people work together across sectors to take action on priority areas.
Rapid growth, deteriorating health and family stress related to a commuting life style, and indicators of increasing levels of poverty are some of the growing challenges for the communities of the Headwaters area. Provincial population growth projections will only heighten these pressures.
We have come to appreciate that the answers to most of these complex issues and challenges cannot be solved with “quick-fix” solutions. We also realize that no one sector can effectively address these issues in isolation. We believe that to make a strategic impact on our quality-of-life we need to find new, innovative and comprehensive ways of working together across many sectors.
There is a long history, predating Headwaters Communities in Action, where leaders in Dufferin’s health and social sectors met regularly to network and discuss how to best meet the needs of residents. Our project aims to build upon this foundation and capitalize on the wisdom learned by other communities.
Yes! We have been working closely with a consultant from Tamarack: An Institute for Community Engagement. Tamarack has worked successfully with many communities like ours in setting a strategy for engaging citizens from different sectors to join together and take leadership to address community issues. For example, the B.C. Capital Region, through their Quality of Life Challenge, has achieved many successes in working towards goals that are very similar to ours. Closer to home, Waterloo Region and Niagara Region have made significant achievements in their goal to reduce poverty as part of the Vibrant Communities initiative.
Why did you change your name from Dufferin Social Prosperity Project to Headwaters Communities in Action?
We believe the new name is more inclusive of our natural communities, and more clearly describes what we’re trying to do. When we started in 2004 as “Dufferin Social Prosperity Project”, our focus was on improving the quality of life of those who live and work within the boundaries of Dufferin County. We have learned that our natural community extends beyond these political boundaries, and that citizens living in north Caledon see themselves as stakeholders in the outcomes of the project. Also, we consistently heard from people that the meaning behind ‘social prosperity’ was difficult to grasp. So, after considerable debate, we chose to rename ourselves Headwaters Communities in Action.
A number of health and social service organizations provided seed funding to launch the project in 2004. In 2005, we secured grants from The Ontario Trillium Foundation and Service Canada which has provided us with a solid base of funding for the year. Community investment in the project will be critical to its sustainability over time. We are actively building partnerships with individuals, organizations, businesses and government to assist in supporting the work of the project.
The success of Headwaters Communities in Action is due to the efforts of a vibrant leadership team, a core group of dedicated volunteers, and numerous project partners. We welcome your involvement! Keep up-to-date on the progress of our project, sign up for our e-newsletter. Explore our Connect page for tangible ways for you to get involved.
What makes Headwaters Communities in Action unique is its emphasis on multi-sector collaboration to build the capacity of our community to achieve improvements in the quality of life of our citizens. We are bringing together people from the business, education, health, social services, government and environmental sectors to identify the priority issues facing our communities, and how we can pool our resources to take action on addressing those issues. We believe our project will make a significant impact on building the capacity of our communities to plan strategically, address issues proactively and find innovative solutions to our challenges.
Social Prosperity is defined as a community’s ability to maintain a high quality of life and a good standard of living for its citizens. It includes ensuring that citizens have access to employment opportunities, community services, health care, adequate housing and education. Headwaters Communities in Action strives to attain social prosperity for those who work and live in Dufferin County and surrounding areas. We believe that this can be effectively achieved by attending holistically to the economic, community health and environmental well being of our communities, and by working together across sectors to focus our collective assets on areas of community priority.
The first phase of our work focused on raising community awareness about our vision, and engaging people in conversations about what needs to happen in our communities in order to achieve that vision. We held numerous community forums and focus groups, spoke with all municipal councils and Dufferin County council, met individually with many key stakeholders, and developed this web site and a quarterly newsletter to facilitate communication within our communities.
We are now moving into a phase of taking action on community priorities. A report that synthesized the ideas generated from the consultations was launched at our Building Momentum Event on June 22, 2006. Participants at the launch identified priorities for community action. Presently, we are creating a plan for implementing these identified priorities. The fall of 2006 will be a time of building community partnerships around the implementation of the action plan, expanding our leadership roundtable, and securing the funds to continue the work of the project.
Ultimately, this project will enhance the quality of life of everyone in the Headwaters region by improving the economic, social and environmental well-being of our citizens. Members of our communities came together to establish the vision for Headwaters Communities in Action. Making this vision a reality will require community members to work together, across many sectors, to take collective action. Headwaters Communities in Action can support people in mobilizing around the ideas for improving our communities, but without the active involvement of citizens across our area we do not have the capacity to implement the ideas. Check out our connect page to find out how you can get involved.