Upstream equity investments foster inclusion in rural areas

Posted on Tuesday May 02, 2023

Waterloo Region – The Region of Waterloo is investing $165,000 to address gaps in services for racialized and other marginalized youth and adults in rural areas.

“This Upstream funding will help create more connections between organizations and grassroots groups to address systemic inequities in the townships,” said Regional Chair Karen Redman. “It’s about working together as a collective to come up with solutions.”

One hundred and fifty thousand dollars will go towards developing a strategy and action plan that assesses needs and addresses the gaps in services in rural areas. The Woolwich Community Health Centre will hire a planner to work on this, in partnership with several organizations and agencies.

“We need to determine what services already exist and what’s missing,” said Executive Director Rosslyn Bentley. “As a collective, we will explore new partners and find hidden voices that otherwise may not have been heard.”

An additional eight thousand dollars will also enable Woolwich Community Services to organize a conference and outreach plan for the Family Violence Prevention Program to better foster connections in rural communities.

The Woolwich Community Health Centre and Woolwich Community Services are among 41 recipients of the first round of Upstream and Community Capacity Building funding. Combined, recipients received four million dollars total this year to improve community safety and wellbeing.

In the meantime, applications for the 2023 Upstream Fund remain open. Members of the community are invited to attend a Community Collaborative Event to learn more.

After applications close, the committee, which is comprised of community members, will allocate funding based on priorities identified by community. This funding model removes barriers for those who have historically, and continue to be, excluded from funding opportunities.

Investing in community-led change was a key call to action from community as part of the Community Safety and Wellbeing Plan process.



Backgrounder on Upstream Fund rural recipients:

Woolwich Community Health Centre

  • $157,000 Upstream Fund

Creation of an Upstream Rural Strategy and action plan that address the gaps in services. A full-time rural planner will be hired to take a bird’s-eye view of the system to map out services, facilitate community conversations and interactions to co-design a rural strategy that sets a foundation for moving forward. The health centre will work on this with the following organizations:

  • Interfaith Counselling Centre
  • Langs
  • Wilmot Family Resource Centre
  • Woolwich Counselling
  • Community Care Concepts
  • Porchlight Counselling and Addictions Services
  • Woolwich Community Services

Woolwich Community Services

  • $8,000 Upstream Fund

Supporting the Family Violence Prevention Program by developing a conference and outreach plan to better foster connection in rural township communities.

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