NELCE is 5!
This past weekend (March 31st), the North East London Community Engagement (NELCE) celebrated its 5 anniversary. NELCE is a resident-based, action-oriented volunteer group that celebrates and strengthens the community of North East London.
NELCE grew – in part – due to the work that the Health Centre launched when we were first funded for a site in the North East in 2004. When we received funding for a satellite location for Health Centre services, among the first staff we hired was a community development worker, Shannon Calvert. One of Shannon’s first pieces of work was community engagement – meeting with the community members and hearing about their vision for their community. Much of that feedback informed the work that now happens through the North East location of the London InterCommunity Health Centre. However, from some of that community dialogue sprung NELCE as a forum for residents to voice their concerns and raise issues. They have developed a strong sense of community pride and participation, have provided opportunities for community leadership and have celebrated the diversity and vibrancy of London’s North East.
At the celebration, their impact on the community was evident. Two of our city councilors who serve the two wards in which NELCE falls were there in attendance – Joe Swan and Stephen Orser. Both spoke to conversations that they had with the community members on key issues. NELCE was a strong voice in the redevelopment of Ed Blake Park. They have improved issues of community safety – notably successfully advocating for the installation of a crosswalk at Beacock Public Library. Currently they are providing input on an improved transit service. They have provided feedback into the City of London’s Strengthening Neighbourhoods plans. Their enthusiasm also supports a number of social and recreational activities in the community including a weekly cards, games and crafts club.
NELCE has continued to grow from its first steps in creating a voice for community concerns and issues. As a Health Centre we have continued to support its development and are now in the process of discussion as to the next steps for NELCE. It was wonderful to celebrate their birthday on the weekend and I look forward to seeing what the next 5 years bring! Just imagine what they will achieve together.