Mark Breslauer, CEO, United Way Greater Victoria (centre), joins Esquimalt Mayor Barbara Desjardins (back left) and Joe O’Rourke, vice president and general manager of Seaspan Victoria Shipyards, to drop postcards off to Esquimalt neighbours. (Photo contributed by United Way Greater Victoria)

Mark Breslauer, CEO, United Way Greater Victoria (centre), joins Esquimalt Mayor Barbara Desjardins (back left) and Joe O’Rourke, vice president and general manager of Seaspan Victoria Shipyards, to drop postcards off to Esquimalt neighbours. (Photo contributed by United Way Greater Victoria)

United Way Greater Victoria launches Hi Neighbour program in Esquimalt

Feedback sought from residents about funding for micro community projects

United Way Greater Victoria is reaching out to Esquimalt residents for ideas on a new community building project.

The program, called Hi Neighbour, is aiming to provide support for Esquimalt’s vulnerable citizens, including those living with a disability, seniors, people living in poverty, single parents, and people with mental health concerns.

Hi Neighbour Esquimalt will be a collaborative effort, and residents are asked to share their ideas about what projects they think would be most impactful in their community. A postcard will be coming in the mail regarding the program.

“When launching Hi Neighbour we want citizens to know everyone has a voice and all are welcome to co-create what they never imagined possible in their community. Every neighbourhood deserves the opportunity to flourish and no matter what issues a community faces there are local solutions,” said Mark Breslauer, CEO of United Way Greater Victoria in a release. “We are here to listen and learn and partner with the residents, businesses, community groups, and the Township of Esquimalt as to what the community needs and how we can co-create solutions.”

The program will be lead by Kelly Binette, who will work with residents to “uncover unseen vulnerabilities in Esquimalt,” and deliver support to those needing services in the community.

United Way received a $600,000 donation from Seaspan and Southern Railway of BC, with the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation, to help eight neighbourhoods on the Island and the Lower Mainland during the pandemic.

By Sept. 30, the program will fund up to 15 micro-grants for “local love” neighbourhood projects. Those who wish to share their ideas for the program can email community.builder@uwgv.ca. Ideas must be submitted by July 15.

“This initiative not only aligns with several of our strategic priorities, it is also a perfect example of one of the diverse ways the United Way supports our community. Esquimalt residents value their neighbours and community and this project is a natural extension of the connectedness we already feel,” said Esquimalt Mayor Barbara Desjardins.

“It is wonderful to see this emphasis on collecting ideas from our residents and businesses directly for a unique approach that is tailored to the township.”

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