Community hubs are the centre of public discourse around healthy and vibrant neighbourhoods. As suburban and rural neighbourhoods are challenged by a lack of local services, community hubs are growing in popularity as a way to provide a “one-stop shop” to address local needs. The Province, municipalities, community organizations and funders are taking innovative approaches to developing community hubs.
We reached out to Karen Pitre, Special Advisor to the Premier on Community Hubs, to discuss her extension and reflect on her work from the past year. Key themes include: building local capacity, engaging stakeholders and removing policy barriers.
The SPACE Coalition has collated a list of promising practices in managing community use of school space that would support more equitable, accessible and efficient permitting system. This resource was developed from SPACE's many years of experience supporting community and resident-led groups operating out of schools. We hope to pave the way for on-going efforts to improve the permitting system currently in space in our schools.
It All Begins With SPACE: Maximizing Use of Public Assets for Engaged and Healthier Neighbourhoods in Toronto - 2013
Equitable access to affordable neighbourhood space has an enormous positive impact on health and wellness, learning and leadership, arts and culture, educational outcomes and sense of belonging. Public space is necessary for community engagement and participation by a full range of neighbours and supports for ongoing improvements to quality of life.
Public Space for Public Use: A Review of Community Access to School and Municipal Facilities in Ontario - 2013
In 1997 the Ontario government implemented a new funding formula as a means for distributing funds to school boards. This resulted in a dramatic increase in user fees for community access to schools. To help reduce these costs, in 2004 the government introduced the Community Use of Schools (CUS) program funding.
The SPACE Coalition believes that community use of public space, including schools and municipal facilities, is a cornerstone of healthy neighbourhoods and communities, promoting affordable and equitable access for all residents. In 2009, SPACE and Social Planning Toronto conducted a follow-up survey to our 2005 and 2007 evaluations of the provincial CUS policy, program and funding.
Public space is a social space and should be accessible to all, regardless of ethno racial background or cultural heritage, gender identity, ability/disability, sexual orientation, age or economic status. Creative use of public spaces strengthens neighbourhoods and brings people together.
Access to affordable community spaces benefits the community in several ways, such as improving student performance and promoting safer neighbourhoods.
Opening the Doors to Ontario’s Schools: Community Use of Schools Program, Year One Impacts and Opportunities - 2005
October 2005, the government had secured Community Recreation and Use Agreements with all 72 School Boards. These Agreements required Boards to reduce permit fees.
In 2005 the SPACE Coalition, in conjunction with Social Planning Toronto, undertook an Ontario-wide survey of community users of school space to assess their awareness of the provincially funded CUS program (Community Use of Schools). CUS was designed to reverse the loss of affordable access to schools by community groups, resulting from changes to the education funding formula in the late 1990s.