For immediate release
Nov. 17, 2017
Ask British Columbians how they define wellbeing, and their answers turn out to be strikingly similar no matter where they live in the province. The non-profit Board Voice Society of BC released a report today on what 1,500 British Columbians had to say when asked about community wellbeing.
Board Voice is made up of some 700 board members from more than 60 community social service organizations that provide a wide range of services throughout BC. We set out to check in with British Columbians this year on how they defined community wellbeing and ended up talking with 1,500 people in 15 communities, many of whom share the same vision of what a healthy community looks like.
The results of those consultations are available with today’s release of the community engagement process for the Board Voice project There Is A Better Way: A BC Framework for Wellbeing. The report features individual profiles on each of the 15 communities polled in the consultations. (Board Voice used a combination of group, one-on-one and online consultation processes.)
While there much diversity in people’s responses, there was also broad agreement on these 10 conditions and qualities as essential to a healthy community:
- Affordable and appropriate housing
- Affordability (cost of living to income)
- Access to activities, events and entertainment
- Access to social services and supports
- Sense of Community
- Work – Life Balance
- Diversity, Tolerance and Inclusion
- Collaboration and Cooperation
- Willingness to Help
“The shared value that people put on this thing we call community came through so clearly in the consultations,” said Doug Hayman. “Community gives context to our involvement in each other’s lives, and British Columbians very obviously attach importance to that.”
The report contains some fascinating emerging values as well, included in the community profiles, and underlines the vital role of municipal government in conversations. People identified the need for integrated approaches to complex issues, and the ongoing importance of prevention and early intervention for people facing challenges in their lives, whatever the cause.
Board Voice has been examining since 2010 how social policies are developed and implemented in BC. The organization has concluded that the lack of an overarching policy and planning framework undermines the potential for a better life for every British Columbian.
Board Voice has been calling for such a framework to guide the planning, priorities and funding of numerous provincial ministries working in human service in BC, and the thousands of non-profits contracted to deliver many of those services in every community around the province.
“Planning for clear social outcomes is where community wellbeing comes from, because it defines and plans for positive outcomes for everyone living in a community,“ says Doug Hayman. “British Columbians want healthier, happier communities where people feel connected, and planning for that is exactly what a social policy framework could provide.”
Read more about the Board Voice project and community consultations here. Board Voice released the report at its annual general meeting and conference in Vancouver.
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Doug Hayman – 250 208-5660
Christine Thomas – 778 319-5153