Recipe for Community makes vibrant, yet underserved, neighbourhoods stronger

When it comes to this recipe, there can’t be too many cooks.

The success of Recipe for Community lies in its collaborative nature – it’s a neighbourhood revitalization initiative that builds on residents’ ideas, as well as being a partnership between Toronto Community Foundation and the City of Toronto, with support from community and corporate sponsors.

“We are working to build the city we all want – one neighbourhood at a time. Thanks to our Vital Toronto Fund donors, we can make strategic community investments,” says Rahul Bhardwaj, the Community Foundation’s President and CEO.

After a successful pilot in Alexandra Park, the program expanded to St. James Town, a downtown area that is home to more than 17,000 people in one city block.

After a successful pilot, Recipe for Community has expanded to a second Toronto neighbourhood, with programs including bike repair.

It responds to Toronto’s Vital Signs 2010, which showed Toronto’s young adults lack a sense of belonging to their community: while three out of four youth aged 12-19 (76.7 per cent) feel they belong, only one out of every two young adults aged 20-34 (52.9 per cent) feel the same.

Initiatives include a refurbished outdoor basketball court; a bicycle repair and maintenance program; and a carpentry, painting and maintenance program offering basic skills, practical experience and information about additional education and training opportunities in the trades.

Residents are acquiring valuable skills, while helping to beautify their neighbourhood and getting to know each other. In dense high-rise areas like St. James Town, this goes a long way to improving safety and a sense of connected­ness in the community.

Plans are underway to identify the next neighbourhood in need of a Recipe for Community.

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