Project News, May 2015
“How do we make Nelson the best place it can be?” The “Nelson at its Best” project is engaging as many people as possible in a broad conversation about making Nelson the best place it can be. Nelson is a great place to live, but there is room for improvement. Right now, not everyone is able to meet their basic needs in life. Poverty forces many residents of Nelson to make hard economic choices — between rent and medicine, food and transportation, childcare and employment opportunities, moving towards a self-sufficient future versus just getting through today. Living in poverty limits one’s ability to participate in community life, which increases social exclusion and feelings of isolation. Poverty harms people’s health and well-being, and this hurts business and community health as well. We can work together to reduce poverty in Nelson. But to do so, we all need to involved in developing the solutions.
Follow this event on Twitter and be part of a Canadian conversation on poverty reduction: #Reducepoverty2015
What does “Nelson @ its Best” mean?
- Good health, so less money is needed for personal health-care. The main factor affecting the health of Canadians is their income.
- Safe and affordable housing for everyone, which is related to better health, including less alcohol and drug use, less mental illness, fewer infectious and chronic diseases, and fewer unplanned pregnancies.
- No people going hungry. Not having enough nutritious food is associated with poor or fair health, distress and depression, and chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
- Healthy children. Children born into poverty are more likely to have low birth weight, slower development, problems with behaviour and poorer health as adults, including higher risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke, type II diabetes and mental health issues.
- People experience less stress and fewer mental health problems.
- Stronger local businesses as people have more money to support them.
- A more productive workforce, as better health is associated with reduced employee turnover, improved competitiveness and greater profits.
- Less crime, so less money is needed for criminal justice issues.
- Educated residents who have greater options for better and more stable employment and a greater sense of control over their lives.
Want to get involved? Join a “Nelson @ its Best” community conversation and plan to attend the Community Summit on May 21st. There are details available on our poster: N@B-poster
What are Community Conversations? Trained Conversation “Hosts” will guide numerous conversations in Nelson between early March and the end of April. Hosts will help participants look at the complex issues related to poverty and discuss ways we can work together to improve everyone’s lives in Nelson. Conversations can happen in small groups or between two people. They will take place in living rooms, work places, coffee shops, or wherever people find the time and space to come together. All participants in community conversations will have the opportunity to share their unique perspectives, experiences and stories with others. Moving to action, people will connect their ideas to outcomes that could range from changes people may be able to make on their own, to new community projects and collaborations, and changes in the way businesses, social service organizations and our governments work. These conversations will help us find solutions to our problems, by bringing all kinds of people together to think, talk, and create change. The information gathered collected during the conversations will also create the foundation for Nelson’s first poverty reduction strategy.
Please come out and join other interested community members on this evening as we work together to create “Nelson at its Best”.
Want more information? For further information on how to become involved in either hosting or participating in a community conversation, please contact Helen Lutz at 250 354-7509 or by email to hsl1968 (at) gmail (dot) com.
Listen to Cheryl Dowden and Nic Cornell as they discuss poverty in our community, the Nelson @ its Best initiative and the power of community conversations.
What Would Nelson @ its Best Look Like? Thanks to Bill Metcalfe for this article about the project. See the Nelson Star article here.