Networking - how to develop a collaborative English-speaking community | VIVA MÉDIA Skip to main content

In November 2018, I became the Coordinator of the Network Partnership Initiative (NPI) of Vaudreuil-Soulanges for the Monteregie West Community Network (MWCN).

Clément Bergeron, Myriam Tessier, Lorie Marcotte, Yvan Cardinal, Pauline Wiedow, Jim Beauchamp, Robert Grimaudo and Joanne Malowany. (Photo MWCN)

We immediately began working from a blank page and developed a plan to mobilize the English-speaking community of Vaudreuil-Soulanges. At that time very few people in Vaudreuil-Soulanges were aware of the existence of the Montérégie West Community Network (MWCN) whose office was located in Chateauguay.

From the beginning we identified 7 cities that make up 90% of the English-speaking population of Vaudreuil-Soulanges; these cities are Pincourt (7,000), Saint-Lazare (8,000), Vaudreuil-Dorion (12,500), Hudson (3,700), Ville de L’Île-Perrot (3,300), Notre-Dame-de-l’Île-Perrot (3,200) and Rigaud (1,500).

Subsequently, we met with the authorities of these cities to promote the MWCN and obtain their collaboration in serving the English-speaking community. As NPI coordinator, I met with the authorities of these cities individually to promote the MWCN and share the intentions of this organization and their mandate. This proved to be a difficult process in some areas, however we ultimately succeeded in forming partnerships as well being recognized by most of these cities and find value in realizing many current activities as well as a promise of many more in the future.

Our partnership with the Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux de la Montérégie Ouest was initially formed because of a mandate already in place with our funder, Community Health and Social Services (CHSSN). Our partnership with the Lester B. Pearson School Board and 11 elementary and secondary schools in Vaudreuil-Soulanges was formed as we persevered with a plan of creating a Youth Gala which was realized in May 2019 and well attended by 450 community members. All gathered at the Ile Perrot Community Centre and $8,000 in bursaries to 56 young people were made possible thanks to our partnership with Caisse Populaire Desjardins de Vaudreuil-Soulanges.

In our effort to be recognized, we met with the provincial and federal MPs of Vaudreuil-Soulanges, Marilyne Picard, Marie-Claude Nichols and Peter Schiefke, who demonstrated a strong desire to offer their support.

We felt that a representations to regional authorities such as the MRC, the Conseil des Arts et de la Culture, Economic Development, the Chambre d’industrie et de commerce, Emploi Québec, the Community Development Corporation and the Sûreté du Québec was also very important and we were well received by all of the above mentioned establishments.

We held 7 focus groups in the 7 named cities with 56 representatives of the English-speaking community to identify with them what their expectations are. This culminated with a Partner’s Forum held in February 2020 with 75 representatives of cities, institutions, and organizations of Vaudreuil-Soulanges to develop a five-year action plan for the Vaudreuil-Soulanges English-speakers.

We contacted the 50 or so organizations that serve the Vaudreuil-Soulanges community for early childhood, youth, people with disabilities, seniors and caregivers, and we entered into several partnerships to offer a program of 13 conferences on various subjects related to health, education, culture, etc. in the fall of 2020.

In the winter of 2019, we set up a permanent NPI coordination committee for Vaudreuil-Soulanges with representatives of the above-mentioned cities and organizations as well as private citizens. We also opened a permanent office for Vaudreuil-Soulanges in Pincourt in the summer of 2019. This past summer we had four employees, including 2 students, working for the English-speaking community of Vaudreuil-Soulanges.

Following these steps, we are now developing new partnership agreements weekly with all of these organizations to provide services to the English-speaking community of Vaudreuil-Soulanges. We subsequently established a partnership network that has already produced a set of services and our goal is to produce more.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the local newspapers for their support, Your local journal, The 1019 Report and The Southwest Voice with whom we have developed a weekly news partnership agreement. A special thank you for the commitment of the Caisse Desjardins de Vaudreuil-Soulanges to the English-speaking community.

Most importantly the people of Vaudreuil-Soulanges are mobilized for the English-speaking community of Vaudreuil-Soulanges, by and for Vaudreuil-Soulanges.

Clément Bergeron

VIVA média

Entreprise de presse et de communication

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