Neighbourhood Centres in Action
Neighbourhood Centres develop and deliver community services including:
- Seniors, Youth and Family Programs
- Employment and Skills Training
- Settlement Services
- Community Development Initiatives
- Literacy and ESL Programs
- Housing and Food Access
- Social Recreation Activities
Neighbourhood Centres are hubs and anchors for social participation. They play a central role in fostering key characteristics of supportive communities, including:
INCLUSIVENESS: empowering individuals and groups who have been left out of the planning, decision-making and policy-development processes in their community; promoting increased awareness, respect and an active celebration of people's diversity.
OPPORTUNITY: working to ensure that all community members, especially those most vulnerable, have access to adequate income, education and a network of relationships they need to participate as valued members of society.
MUTUAL SUPPORT: assisting community members to help each other and work together to address shared concerns.
Applying these principles means working directly with community members, developing initiatives from the ground up, mobilizing trained volunteers and skilled staff, and securing government funds and private donations to achieve locally defined objectives.
Neighbourhood Centres emerged from the Settlement House Movement which began in 1883 with the establishment of the first settlement house, Toynbee Hall in London, England.
The first settlement houses were established in Toronto between 1894 and 1914, and included University Settlement (1910), Central Neighbourhood House (now part of the Neighbourhood Group) (1911) and St. Christopher House (now West Neighbourhood House) (1912). All of these organizations are still active members of the current Toronto Neighbourhood Centres association.