Community Social Planning

Do you think that every community needs concrete ways for people to contribute their knowledge to create the present and the future they want? Join the Community Social Planning Council.

“Social planning is a local, democratic system for setting priorities, arriving at equitable compromises
and taking action. It supports community needs and interests in social, cultural, economic, and environmental affairs. It is a process for building community well-being.”
from A Citizen Guide to Community Social Planning, 
Social Planning and Research Council of British Columbia, page 4.

The idea for a social planning council in Kitchener and Waterloo was raised in the 1950's when local leaders recognized the need for reliable information management about social services and wanted to build community capacity to respond to changes in local needs.

Community based social planning continued through numerous action research projects identifying gaps in supports and resources available (housing and homelessness, youth and seniors, neighbourhood engagement, volunteerism, legal services, immigration, digital inclusion, etc.), and looked to increase the readiness of the community to be proactive in preventing social problems. 

Many organizations and agencies were born from this early work including the Volunteer Action Centre and the Waterloo Regional Community Legal Services. Many partnerships were created for mutual support and better information sharing and service delivery planning, including early networks for immigrant and housing supports. Together with municipal governments, the Social Development Centre has helped establish Kitchener's ward system and Compass Kitchener, Waterloo's international award for an Intelligent Community, and the Region of Waterloo Social Services Department.

What Drives Your Community Action Forum 2013

 Social Development Centre Waterloo Region shares four key values with other groups concerned about social justice, environmental sustainability and democratic renewal:

Equality
Legacy for Future
Compassion
Community of Voices

Thanks to the dedicated members of the Community Social Planning Counicl we have brought together in 2015 we continue bringing different perspectives and different players to resolve issues that are not easy to deal with. That can prepare our community to respond to immediate social needs and at the same time plan for the resolution of the long-term concerns such as poverty, inclusion, affordable housing, diversity, etc. 

Our work allows us to fulfill the follwoing roles:

  • Advocacy: acting to change a public policy/procedures/process and gain support for specific community led initiative.
  • Social Policy Analysis: improvement of government or institutional programs.
  • Informing and Educating: raising awareness about current social issues, providing flexible access to information and faciliating conversations about community well-being.
  • Generating Community Knowledge: conduction applied research and generating information in different formats to help the community document its needs and strenghts.
  • Community Organizing; supporting action groups to help those affected by an issue develop plans and strategies for action as well as building bridges among different players for the benefit of the whole community.

Adapted from A Citizen Guide to Community Social Planning,  Social Planning and Research Council of British Columbia, page 3.

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