Why we are: a brief history
Welcome to Ward 5 Neighbourhood Centre, formerly Ward 5 Community Centre and thank you for your interest in our organization.
Ward 5 Neighborhood Centre is a voluntary, non-profit organization, governed by a Board of Directors who receive no remuneration for their deeds. We hope the enclosed information provides some insight into our organization.
Ward 5 Neighborhood Centre has two reasons for being unique. The first is the structure of the organization, as outlined in the organizational chart. Our Centre is not a Recreational Centre for children, a Senior Citizen’s Centre, a Food Bank, Information/Resource Centre or a place for people in the neighbourhood to get a meal. Ours is one that operates as a Neighborhood Centre, as stated in our Mission and Motto, providing an array of services to those who need them, and is instrumental in response to identified needs and community requests.
Over two decades ago, when Police were out on patrol they would go to school grounds and other places where local children and youth would hang out, and would request that they move on. When asked by one youngster “where to go”, the wheels started to move. Over the next few months various meetings were held (with parents, police, teachers, children, etc.), to discuss concepts and to take some action.
This is our other reason for being unique; we came about through those meetings. When the group approached the Ward 5 Resources Council, they became our original sponsors and convinced St. Mark’s Church to become more involved in outreach ministering.
The doors opened in the spring of 1971, and although the organization would not be incorporated for three more years, the first few became a challenge. Much structure and development was needed, as the “Drop In Centre” provided a place to be off the streets, and that’s where it stopped.
Also, at this time parents started to get involved and started a Parents Association, who not only assisted with programs and special fund raising projects, but soon requested programs for themselves, such as keep fit, bowling, nutritional cooking, etc.
By 1973, formation of an Advisory Group had begun (from the Ward 5 Council, Parents Group, Police, St. Mark’s Church, etc.) And by April 1, 1974 they would become the first Board of Directors. It was also the year we started our Information/Referral Centre, based on the British model of a Citizen’s Advice Bureau, to meet the ever increasing demand by people who couldn’t get through the red tape and/or just didn’t know where to go for assistance.
April 1974 saw not only our First Board of Directors and Incorporation, but also our first financial stability, through the support of core funding by way of the Nova Scotia Department of Social Services (community services).
Over the years we have grown (and continue to) in order that we might meet the needs of a changing community such as the increasing senior population, a drastic drop and then increase in children, and of course, the many concern/issues brought to us over the years.
Our Neighborhood Centre still operates as a vehicle to meet the needs of the community for the community, and will surely continue this practice as long as our presence is needed.