Our project was to host a neighbourhood event to help promote a sense of belonging and connection within our area—a chance for neighbours to show pride and harmony with each other and their community.
We did this by having a block/street party with an art project. We had an art station where families could create unique lawn signs. Examples of signs created were: “we love our neighbours,” “beware kids playing,” “cat crossing,” “friendly neighbourhood,” “beware of bear,” “Dunsmuir Neighbourhood,” etc. The grant we received paid for the lumber, paint, brushes, stencils
The block party also had live music, neighbourhood vendors, a water station for kids to splash in and donations of coffee, snacks and drinks from local businesses.
This event was planned with the creation of a neighbourhood planning committee. Donation letters were sent out to local businesses to ask for donations. Volunteers also contacted the City of Mission to apply for necessary permits, liability insurance etc. Flyers were created and distributed by volunteers to help promote the event. A sign-up was also created to organize a team of volunteers to help set up, help at the event and clean up after.
Challenges we encountered included our City not currently having a “block party tool kit” in place or policies for permits for small “block party” type events. All documents, policies and permits only apply to large-scale events. The weather was also challenging as it was raining- it would have been helpful to have a backup plan for rain or large tents that could have been used.
What did we take away from this event? We learned that great things can be accomplished when community members come together with a common goal. Many people that volunteered and also attended the event were very excited and appreciative of the event. Many people commented on wanting to be part of a similar event in the future. We also took away that it would be helpful if our City had a “block party tool kit” or policies in place for small community events similar to block parties. The current application documents, permits, policies, etc., are for very large events. We will contact our City to further inquire about these challenges. Ideally, it would be great if the City could partner with neighbourhoods to assist in these types of events.
Overall, we feel like our event was very successful and have received much positive feedback, including an online post in our local news magazine. We are very grateful for receiving this grant and look forward to applying again in the future.