Welcome to the 30th edition of Neighbours helping Neighbours, a bi-weekly newsletter from the neighbourhoods team, with a focus on good news stories, important community updates and an ever growing list of support resources.

If you have ideas for resources to share or shareable stories of kindness, please send them to: neighbourhoods@waterloo.ca

PS ~ We'd like to grow the audience for this newsletter! Our request: Will you forward this issue to at least one other person who shares our love of all things neighbourhoods? Suggest that they subscribe through the link at the bottom or waterloo.ca/subscribe. Thanks!
Pandemic focused mini grant funds for winter/spring 2021
The pandemic focused mini grant funds provide support to initiatives in neighbourhoods that:
  • respond to emergent needs and opportunities at the neighbourhood level;
  • contribute to community building;
  •  encourage neighbourhood interactions;
  • empower neighbours to lead; and
  • are in compliance with all COVID-19 public health directives.

Community members, working independently or collaboratively, who are Waterloo residents may request funds from February 1-28, 2021 for project use by May 31, 2021. Applicants:
  • are encouraged to contact staff to discuss ideas for their initiatives
  • can receive funding from this program even if a regular mini grant or pandemic focused mini grant has been received in the past 12-month period
  • can request up to $500 cash and/or in-kind to support eligible expenses for initiatives in neighbourhoods in Waterloo

This temporary fund supports emergent and one-time activities that:
  • are new initiatives that have not received support through another funding program, including the first round of the pandemic focused mini grant, service agreements, cash grants or the Neighbourhood Matching Fund;
  • demonstrate how the initiative will be welcoming to all populations; 
  • provide clear goals and objectives on how the funds will be used;
  • occur within four months of the application for funds being approved (funds cannot be used to support activities that take place prior to the request) and;
  • comply with all Public Health directives.

To submit an application for funding, first reach out to the neighbourhoods team with your project idea and some details of your initiative.
Old Post Park is getting a new playground!
The City of Waterloo and neighbourhood partners are working together to replace the playground structure at Old Post Park. The city is designing site works, coordinating procurement and managing the installation of a new playground for the neighbourhood. Community representatives are fundraising to optimize the value of play equipment that will be installed in the playground.

Help improve the Laurel Greenway, Willis Way and Waterloo Public Square
The Laurel Greenway is a linear park space and trail that weaves through uptown Waterloo, running from Weber Street in the east into Waterloo Park in the west. The greenway connects public spaces and neighbourhoods, and provides a strong connection to the historic Laurel Creek. 

Check out the project pages below and share your ideas, review background information, and complete short surveys. 
  1. Improving the Laurel Greenway
  2. Exploring shade structure options for Waterloo Public Square
  3. Reimagining Willis Way

This round of public engagement closes on January 29, 2021.
Safety first at local parks in winter
During the winter months, playgrounds in our parks may be covered in snow and ice. Please take care and use playground equipment with caution. 
Neighbourhood Matching Fund deadline February 22
Do you have an idea to help make your neighbourhood more caring and vibrant? During the pandemic, ideas for your local park, virtual connections, at-home neighbourhood projects, and community art are just a few ways to connect with neighbours. 

The Neighbourhood Matching Fund provides up to $7,500 in support of neighbourhood projects. Any two or more neighbours can apply. During the COVID-19 pandemic, community support must be demonstrated but the grant match is flexible to accommodate gathering and volunteer restrictions. 2021 grant deadlines are February 22, June 2, and October 20 before 2pm. Learn more about the grant and contact the neighbourhoods team to discuss your idea. 
Enews subscriber prize draw winners
From September to end of December new subscribers to the enews were entered into a draw. Congratulations to Saba G., Immer B., and Tamara D. - enjoy your prizes!
Block Connector applications accepted until January 25!
One of the City of Waterloo’s neighbourhood strategy goals over the next several years is to build new connections between neighbours. Caring and compassionate neighbours contribute to quality of life. During the pandemic we have seen neighbours sharing and providing important support to each other.

The Hey Neighbour! Block Connector program has been designed to help neighbours build and maintain connections to strengthen a sense of community.

We are seeking interested residents to take a neighbourhood leadership role as Block Connectors to spark these new connections. A Block Connector is someone who helps neighbours residing in close proximity to each other to share information, support one another, and build a sense of community in good times and challenging ones. During the pandemic these connections will largely happen online, via social media or email lists.

Full requirements are posted on the neighbourhoods webpage.

Email the neighbourhoods team for further information.
Be nice. Clear your snow and ice.
Waterloo city bylaws require that your sidewalks be clear of snow and ice within 24 hours of a snow fall. Not clearing your sidewalks can result in crews contracted by the city to clear them for you. Residents are required to reimburse the city for the cost of the service. Depending on the size of your lot, this could cost you $280.
Winterfest in a box!
The Lakeshore South Community Association normally celebrates an annual Winterfest at the Albert McCormick Community Centre. In December, the association worked together to bring Winterfest in a box to their community members.

The box included a package of essentials usually given to each family at the in-person event, along with items to help have some winter fun at home like craft supplies, card games, and other family-friendly activities. A great team of volunteers organized safe delivery to each family registered. 
Seniors Without Walls
WOW is a Seniors’ Centre Without Walls telephone program that brings social, recreational and educational programs to seniors. Enjoy guests speakers, learn new skills and engage in friendly conversations with other seniors in your community.
In order to join the WOW program you will need:
  1. A working telephone.
  2. You need to be a senior in Waterloo or the surrounding community.
  3. You will be required to register by calling 519-579-1020 x 10037
  4. Answering a brief intake questionnaire.

From there, you will be registered for weekly or daily activities offered on our program calendar

Upcoming activities:
  • 24-Hour Movement Guidelines - Friday, Jan. 22, 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. 
  • Seated Gentle Exercise with Leslie Houston - Friday, Jan. 22, 1:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
  • Waterloo Public Library Presentation - Tuesday, Jan. 26, 1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. 
  • Elder Abuse 101 Presentation - Friday, Jan. 29, 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Winter fun!
Mary Allen Park now has a snow building station! Meaghan, a member of the Mary Allen Neighbourhood Association, applied for mini grant funds to support this new idea knowing that outdoor winter activities would be important in the neighbourhood this season. Neighbours can use the tools to get creative in the snow and add extra winter fun to the park. 
Stay connected with neighbourhood groups near you!
Neighbourhood associations
These groups work collaboratively with the City of Waterloo in a formal partnership as an association to foster neighbourhood connections and create opportunities for recreation. 

Home associations
These groups also work to foster neighbourhood connections and create opportunities for recreation. Many associations were initiated based on covenants formed by land developers, with these groups often gathering around pools and tennis courts in their area.

Neighbourhood groups
These groups are another example of residents working as a neighbourhood to foster connections and create opportunities for recreation.
Multicultural Calendar:
  • January 24 ~ International Day of Education. United Nations designated day to advance Sustainable Development Goal 4, to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
  • January 27 ~ International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Designated by the United Nations (UN), this day commemorates the genocide that resulted in the death of millions of people at the hands of the Nazi regime and its collaborators.
  • January 27 ~ Tu BiShvat. Commonly known as the ‘New Year of the Trees’, Tu Bishvat is marked on the 15th day of the Jewish month of Shevat.

Source: Canadian Centre for Diversity & Inclusion
Stay tuned for the next edition of Waterloo Neighbourhoods.
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Waterloo Neighbourhoods is published throughout the year to keep residents informed about the good things happening in neighbourhoods across Waterloo. If you have any questions or comments, please call 519-747-8515 or email communications@waterloo.ca. If you’re reading Waterloo Neighbourhoods as a non-subscriber, visit our subscription page to sign up for future editions.

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