A new program aimed at bringing neighbours together to increase connectivity and wellness is under development in Centre Wellington.
The proposed initiative grew out of a March council discussion. On Wednesday, township communications coordinator Kendra Martin gave the Community Services Advisory Committee a preview of the draft program that will be presented to council for approval at an upcoming meeting.
The program would provide grants of between $1,000 and $3,000 to "resident-led community groups" to host one-time events for their neighbourhoods between Feb. 1 and Nov. 30, 2022. Groups must reside in Centre Wellington and cannot be a business, social enterprise or incorporated non-profit.
Events must be free and held in a public place, for example a neighbourhood park, street or civic facility. Organizers would also need to get a permit.
Eligible expenses include advertising and promotion, space rental, food, art supplies, sport equipment, rental fees for things like tents, tables and chairs, liability insurance and permits.
Funding can't be used for alcohol, media equipment like computers or TVs, large equipment like barbecues, travel and activities outside Centre Wellington, and activities related to religious or political purposes.
Neighbourhood grants also can't be used for fundraising events of activities.
As for what form the events will take, Martin said once the program is approved by council and dates are set, she's planning a marketing campaign to give people some ideas. Ultimately however, "it's really going to be up to the neighbourhood," she explained.
Perhaps a newer neighbourhood where residents don't know each other as well might enjoy a skating party at a local arena, Martin said.
"Or maybe it's just an outside street party with a barbecue for an older more established neighbourhood where they know their neighbours, but it's just a way if you haven't seen them in 18 months and you just want to go out and say hi safely," she continued.
Organizers would need to fill out a budget as part of funding applications. They will also be responsible for submitting all receipts to the township.
"We want people to understand that it is tax-supported dollars, so we want everyone to be responsible and understand that the event that they're holding needs to be accounted for," Martin said.
Alison Sandstrom, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com