Community Partnerships for Shared Goals

How Woodstock CHC is employing the CIW to promote Community Belonging

Cate Melito
Cate Melito, ED of Woodstock CHC opening the “Acheiving Wellbeing” a panel discussion during Community Health & Wellbeing Week
The Woodstock and Area Community Health Centre provides a wonderful illustration of how other CHCs can work together with community partners in using the CIW as tool to mobilize the community towards a shared goal, to promote higher levels of Community Belonging.

How Did They Do It?

During an initial consultation between Gary Machan, AOHC, Community Facilitator and Cate Melito, Executive Director, Woodstock CHC, one of the items discussed was whether there might be any groups that would be potentially interested in applying the CIW.

One group which Cate Melito immediately identified as a possibility was the Oxford Social Planning Council.  The reasons it was an ideal candidate were:
  1. The Woodstock and Area CHC was an active member on the council and actually played an important role in helping to establish it.
  2. It had a diverse membership consisting of multiple partners and stakeholders including representation from such agencies as the United Way, Health Unit, CAS, CMHA, municipalities, but also citizens at large.
  3. Also very important, it had a vision that was very much aligned with and broad enough to encompass the work of the CIW.
  4. Following this conversation, Cate approached the Oxford Social Planning Council as to whether the CIW might be a tool they would be interested in learning more about with the potential of possibly becoming a demonstration site.

Due to the positive response she received, a generic CIW presentation was made by the AOCH Community Facilitator to the Oxford Social Planning Council which was followed by a rich discussion about how the CIW might advance their work.

While there was no pressure placed on the Woodstock CHC and Oxford Social Planning Council to participate in the OTF project, it became quite apparent there was enough interest and enthusiasm on the part of the membership to take the next step.

What this entailed was the organization of an extremely well received CIW event, 'Achieving Community Wellbeing' jointly organized between the Woodstock CHC and the Oxford Social Planning Council during Community Health and Wellbeing Week on September 30, 2013.

Due to the feedback received from this event and the Community Engagement process led by the United Way, one of the shared goals of the Woodstock CHC and Oxford Social Planning Council is Community Belonging.

What If There Isn't an Existing Group of Coalition?

Creating your own coalition might sound daunting, but in some instances it can actually be less work. This is due to the fact that by partnering with like-minded organizations, you can ensure that everyone at the table is there because they are supportive of the work of the CIW, which might not always be the case with existing groups.

Also, many collaboratives have their origins in joint projects where community partners loosely came together such as was the case with the start of the Resilience Collaborative with its first forays in applying the CIW.

Above all else, it is important to know that you are not alone. Support is readily available through the Community Facilitator of the AOHC. In addition, the Ontario Healthy Community Links can be a great resource to link you with animators in your region.

Helpful Resources:

  1.     Generic CIW Slide Show
  2.     Terms of Reference for Oxford Social Planning Council
  3.     Terms of Reference for Resilience Collaborative
  4.     Link to HCLink Ontario