REPORT: East End Summit Summary Report – First Release 2016

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Abstract

In a rapidly changing and ever more connected society the need for efficient, meaningful public engagement is crucial. Technology has provided a myriad of ways of connecting across municipalities, inspiring citizens to share their perspectives and explore those of others. The issues that matter to people however are not happening out in cyberspace, they are occurring in our own communities – in our schools, our neighborhoods and in the words expressed by residents young and old. To many, addressing these issues through government can be frustrating and ineffective, rarely leading to actual solutions and perpetuating the perception that their opinions are not valued.

Many public policy issues cannot be solved by government alone. Cooperation from residents, community associations, local businesses and non-profit groups is needed to move our community forward. The East End Summit was an attempt to bring stakeholders of east London to the table, in a discussion about issues that are important to their community. A group of stakeholders were critical in the success of the event, including Beautiful Edibles, Campus Creative, Community Gardens London, Crouch Neighbourhood Resource Centre, Glen Cairn Community Resource Centre, Goodwill Bookstore, Hamilton Road Community Association, Hamilton Road Food Coalition, Kipps Lane and Community Association, London Intercommunity Health Centre (LIHC), London Institute for Public Policy (LIPP), London Public Library, London Youth Advisory Council (LYAC), London East Historical Society, Neighbourhood, Children and Fire Services Department of City Of London, North East Community Conversations (NECC), North East London Community Engagement (NELCE), Old East Village Community Association (OEVCA), and United Notions Café. The issues in the event included Food Literacy & Security, Affordable Housing, Lorne Avenue Public School, Community Development, and the Arts. The intention of the event was to give participants a chance to talk about these issues in a structured way where their opinions and concerns could be heard, recorded, and ultimately translated into concrete initiatives.

The East End Summit took place on the evening of July 14, 2016, at BMO Centre London. The evening began with presentations from five esteemed speakers. First was Michael Van Holst, City Councillor for Ward 1, who spoke about improving food literacy and access to nutritious, locally grown food. Second was ordained minister and housing consultant Jerry Towne, who discussed creative housing options that meet the needs of vulnerable populations while strengthening community ties. Third was a joint presentation with William Komer, Executive Director of Campus Creative, and Mark Henshaw, Director of Education of Campus Creative. Will and Mark spoke about the potential of repurposing Lorne Avenue Public School to build neighbourhood capacity. Fourth was Ryan Craven, Supervisor, Community Development at the City of London, who discussed team approaches to community development for building resilient and engaged neighbourhoods. Fifth was actor and artist Dan Ebbs, who discussed new visions for arts and culture and the potential to revitalize east London.

Following the five presentations and a short intermission, five breakout groups were formed where participants were given the chance to discuss the issues in more detail. Each breakout group had a moderator who ensured each group stayed on topic and afforded everyone who wanted to speak the chance. Questions were displayed on an overhead projector to guide the discussion and all the responses and insights were recorded. Each participant was also given a survey where they could further elaborate on their thoughts. This report will summarize the ideas expressed in the surveys and breakout groups. It is in the interest of the London Institute for this data to inspire community organizations and stakeholders to take concrete steps to address these important issues and strengthen the sense within the community that their ideas matter and are being heard

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