Central Okanagan: A Collective Voice

one_voiceIn early in 2013 we distributed an email survey to 25 community-based social service agencies, establishing that all the agencies are interested in exploring the benefits of a collective voice for Central Okanagan Boards.

Since then, we’ve held four meeting, submitted a funding proposal,  developed an action plan to June, 2014 and established partnerships with the Central Okanagan Regional District and UBC Okanagan (UBCO).

We have a contact list of 65 agencies, a core team of five agency representatives and ten agencies participating in meetings to mobilize the community to establish a Central Okanagan Board Voice.

We now have a team of UBCO Social Work graduate students engaged in dialogues with community agencies to solicit support and gather feedback on a proposed community event for Board Directors in March, 2014. They will use these findings and the findings from the email survey– with direction from the core team–to plan a community event for Board Directors to network and to develop an agenda for collective Board action in the Central Okanagan.

Funding proposals will be submitted to local funding agencies to provide the resources to sustain the Board Voice movement in our community.

Successes: Community agency representatives are at the table; We have support from the Central Okanagan Regional District Social Development Coordinator; Kelowna Community Resources has a service mandate to complement this Board Voice initiative; UBCO Faculty of Social Work is invested in community process

Challenges: History of territorialism and competition for funding among agencies; Wide variation in size, longevity and creditability among community agencies;  Small agencies are struggling to sustain services and have limited time/resources to invest in collective board voice; Project requires extensive time investment from champion/s; Process of mobilizing community is slow because different agencies with differing ideas are at the table each meeting