Strategic Planning


How Woolwich CHC is using the CIW as part of its strategic planning process

“In our community assessment work, we want to take a broad view – ‘cast the net wide’ – which is what the CIW domains allow for. This paves the way for our own organization to think more comprehensively about our mandate. It also enables in-depth discussions about strategic priorities that require partnerships across multiple sectors.” Denise Squire, ED, Woolwich

For organizations promoting community health and wellbeing, strategic planning helps answer important questions. What are the important factors shaping their community wellbeing? To what extent are these services and programs addressing these determinants? How might a community build on it strengths to foster higher levels of community wellbeing issues?

Based on early learnings from the Woolwich CHC, the CIW can serve as an effective framework to answer these questions.

How did they do it?

  1. In 2010, the Woolwich CHC decided to use the Community Vitality Domain of the CIW Framework to support its community needs and capacity assessment which it conducts every five years.
  2. To guide the research component of this planning process, the centre focused on key indicators associated with the Community Vitality Domain such as participating in groups, extent to which people offer assistance to one another.
  3. Questions around these indicators were included in household surveys, focus group sessions with 20 different populations and special outreach session at local high schools,
  4. A community assessment report was prepared and shared with the Centre’s board and staff that included the survey results in a quantifiable way.

Why was it significant?

In a quantifiable way, the CIW survey results confirmed what the centre’s board and staff had already sensed for a very long time, that they are in fact a caring community.

“For the first time, we felt we had a credible way to communicate this important information.”

The CIW framework, including the Community Vitality Domain and indicators, are the result of years of work by the nation’s experts in this field.

What the Future Holds

Due to their positive experience with the CIW, Denise Squire and her senior management team decided to examine all eight CIW domains during their next strategic planning cycle.

In so doing, it should be noted that that Woolwich Community Health Centre worked with 3 partner agencies (Community Care Concepts, Wilmot Family Resource Centre and Woolwich Community Services) to measure wellbeing within Woolwich, Wellesley and Wilmot Townships using the CIW as a framework. This information will help the organizations to identify areas of strength and need within the townships and to work with the community to enhance collective wellbeing in the years to come.

Another exciting development is that Woolwich will be the first CHC to be able to track changes over time specific to CIW indicators and will also be able to compare their data to the general population of the Waterloo region such as was generated by the Community Foundation.

View the full report online: Community Wellbeing Assessment 2014

A shared language

“The possibilities are endless” says Denise Squire. “For CHCs, a comprehensive approach to community health and wellbeing is not a new concept. But what the CIW gives us is a shared language to talk about it. That’s so important.”