I was recently honoured to attend a meeting where 20 neighbourhood leaders from across Hamilton gathered to participate in the inaugural session of the Neighbourhood Leadership Institute.
The NLI was established by Hamilton Community Foundation and has been shaped in partnership with the City of Hamilton’s office of Neighbourhood Development Strategy. HCF and the City view the NLI as critical “infrastructure” to our collective neighbourhood work. Local leaders engage residents – their neighbours – and provide focus to community activities in ways that funders and government cannot. Developing and refining leadership skills is a way to support and sustain longer-term transformation in neighbourhoods; it builds capacity and human capital which help drive neighbourhood change both in terms of technical expertise and ability to create and sustain a common vision.
At present, under David Derbyshire, the NLI provides high quality resident leadership training through a series of monthly sessions on a range of topics including: resident engagement, resolving conflicts, grant writing and more. In time, however, there is a range of opportunities the NLI will explore to enhance the impact of our community work. This might include training professionals who wish to engage in neighbourhoods and with residents; or providing a stepping stone to more formal community development education opportunities in Hamilton!
I had the privilege to welcome participants on behalf of HCF and, better, to sit with them and listen to stories reflecting their commitment and passion for their neighbourhoods and for our community. I look forward to learning more from these dedicated community leaders and to sharing with you the evolution of the NLI.