Cranbrook Family Connections thrives in community
In 2007, Community Connections Society (formerly known as Cranbrook Women’s Resource Centre) began to look for a new home to house the Better Babies program.
We found a building that we thought would work well for us but unfortunately, we couldn’t afford the rent. As it turned out, ANKORS, Big Brothers, Big Sisters and Options for Sexual Health agreed to move in with us.
We named ourselves Cranbrook Family Connections and began an amazing journey with our new colleagues. What began as a pragmatic solution to our problem had now become a model of service delivery that has served us, our community partners and our community very well. It had become a model of integration, cooperation and interdependence.
In 2013, a decision was made to relocate to a larger building so that we could expand the number of services offered in one, easily accessible location. The old bingo hall became our new home and several like-minded programs now “live” in the hub and provide services to the community including: ANKORS- AIDS and HIV organization, Bellies to Babies Pregnancy Outreach Program, Better at Home Program for seniors, Community Action Program for Children (CAPC), Cranbrook Women’s Centre, Cranbrook Men’s Centre, Cranbrook Family Resource Program, Health Outreach Nurse with the STOP HIV project, Options for Sexual Health, Homeless Outreach and Prevention Programs, Kootenay Brain Injury Program, Nurse Family Partnership, Poverty Law Advocate Program, Kitchen and Food Security programs, and visiting professionals i.e.: Public Health, East Kootenay Addictions, Infant Development Program, Legal Aid, Work BC and Private Counsellors, including an Art Therapist.
Our purpose is to provide a central community access point for support and education, early childhood and youth development, health promotion and awareness, with a focus on building capacity, prevention and health promotion over treatment and acute care. Our goal is to provide services that enhance quality of life and build health, wellbeing and the capacity of Cranbrook citizens and families.
Cranbrook Family Connection strives to provide services that are integrated, collaborative, and holistic in their approach to wellbeing and community. We collectively share values of being person-centered, respectful, accepting and non-judgmental. We want community citizens to feel empowered in their skills and capacities to live full emotional, mental, spiritual and physical lives.
In the 11 years of operation, Cranbrook Family Connections has become known as a central hub of services and has gained recognition for this unique model of collaboration. Individuals and families are very comfortable coming to the building to access services and are assured of confidentiality.
Agencies within the building acknowledge the increased ease at which collaboration and partnership is possible because of co-location. This way of doing business has offered proximity, efficient access to potential allies and an increased understanding of the capacities, resources and solutions to community issues and needs. It has offered an appealing approach to the not-for-profit community’s struggle to do more with less.
Agencies share resources such as photocopiers, faxes, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, etc. We focus less on agency boundaries and are intentionally collaborating to fill gaps in service. Cranbrook citizens benefit from meaningful locally provided and designed services.
We are always trying to respond to the needs of our community and, as a collaborative to more readily respond to emerging issues. Examples of recent innovation include piloting a Walk-in Counselling Clinic and opening a Men’s Centre (one of very few across Canada). Both programs were in response to a serious gap in mental health and counselling support accessible without cost and both have been very successful.
We are very grateful for the financial and in-kind support that we have received from community over the years.
This relationship with our community is very important to us and other non-profit organizations. As we try to manage static contracts and increasing overhead costs, it becomes vitally important to have the support of community so that we can continue to serve people in our community that are struggling with many of life issues.
Cranbrook Social Planning Society