This past Saturday, the Ward 1 Office and the Westend Seniors Activity Centre hosted the first ever Community Connector. Different from my usual town halls (Community Conversations), this event aimed to connect Ward 1 residents to organizations that service the area while informing them on community safety and partnerships.
This was done through a presentation by Executive Director of the Westend Seniors Activity Centre Haidong Liang, presentations from EPS (Police Chief Dale Mcfee and West Division Superintendent Darlene Savoie) and a presentation from REACH Edmonton’s Jan Fox.
Haidong Liang presented on community partnerships and Chief McFee who was celebrating his one year anniversary of being sworn in as Chief of Police that very day, presented on his vision for community policing and partnerships. Superintendent Darlene Savoie of the West Division presented on Crime and Community Safety in Ward 1 and Jan Fox closed off with a presentation on REACH and the importance of evidence based community safety strategies
Community Connector looked to meaningfully connect citizens and community organizations to foster conversation, future collaborations and lasting connections. During the event, attendees had the opportunity to speak to around 30 organizations and community groups. The event also looked to educate the general public on the initiatives the featured community groups and organizations were currently working on.
In general, Community Connector had a large focus on making sure attendees felt educated and connected to what’s happening within th
eir community from all sides. As with any inaugural event, there’s a large learning curve. However, the wholehearted embrace that the
community showed in hosting an event of this kind was incredibly encouraging throughout the process.
Each food sponsor featured was a local Ward 1 business that showed incredible kindness, hard work and dedication by contributing sizable amounts of food donations for this event. These businesses included Cloud Cakes and Desserts by Auntie Lou, Cafe Blackbird, Celebrate Gluten Free Cafe and Bon Ton Bakery.
While some statistics could be estimated, like the amount of organizations or amount of attendees, the positive impact during and following this event was something entirely unpredictable. The event saw around 125 people throughout and afterwards we received plenty of positive feedback. Attendees claimed this event to be a wonderful opportunity to connect with community organizations that serve their community, to connect with any public servants such as myself, Chief McFee or MLA Jon Carson who hosted a table there, and was a great opportunity to learn more.
At this point it is safe to say that we are looking to host another iteration of this event in the future. With your event feedback we can improve the event to make it more inclusive, accessible, organized and comfortable for all who attend.