New approach to community wellness underway in Stettler and county
- A 47% reduction in crimes against persons, a 37% reduction in property crimes and a 40% reduction in other Criminal Code crimes
- A reduction from 37 youth charged with crimes in 2016 to zero youth crime charges in 2019
- Gains in literacy learning at school
- Cost savings for agencies
- Reduced staff burnout across all branches
- Families moving to Bashaw
- 160 at-risk families and children served and connected to programs and services
- Support services offered in the community (with a population of 840): family well-being worker, basic learning and literacy, food bank, meals on wheels, support for seniors, information and referral, family and youth programming, mental health and addictions, employability services, home support, English language learning, healthy families, home visiting, daycare and preschool, post-secondary education and technology support
- A study has shown that for every dollar spent, social value to the community provides at least $10 in benefits
Officials say the results came because Bashaw’s Community Wellness Team, which includes RCMP, Bashaw School, Adult Learning and Social Programs representatives, worked collaboratively and responsibly. integrated, rather than operating in isolation.
Jackie Northey, executive director of Bashaw Adult Learning, says Alberta is rich in resources, but poor in collaboration.
Northey says Bashaw, through the new approach, chose to “design its future and invent ways to achieve it. Through a change in mentality, the Bashaw community understood that “building a better yesterday” was not going to take the community beyond the current challenges faced by all rural communities. We knew this would require a different approach – a fresh look at the possibilities.
Myranda Shepherd, Principal of Wm. E. Hay Stettler Secondary Campus was the principal of Bashaw School when the new approach developed. She says having the school as a key member of the collaborative work was important.
“An important part of a child’s life is spent in the school system. In addition to this, schools are often the point of contact for families for a number of reasons. We are very fortunate to be a hub for our community – and therefore we have an important role to play as advocates for our community, navigators for our organizations and the first point of contact for many new families. who come to town.”
Like Shepherd, Stettler’s RCMP Staff Sergeant. Bruce Holliday was serving at Bashaw when the community began its welfare work. He was satisfied with the results of the collaborative work.
“That’s the philosophy of community policing in action. Engaging community partners to serve members of our community allows the RCMP to focus its resources on traditional policing with the ultimate goal of preventing and reducing crime, making our community a safer place to live” , shares Holiday.
Holliday and Shepherd, now employed at Stettler, would work with a number of others to establish a collaborative and integrated approach to Stettler and Stettler County.
The Stettler Group is called: “Circle of Services” and includes Stettler Elementary School, Wm. E. Hay Stettler Secondary Campus, RCMP and other agencies for a total of 32 agencies.
According to Shepherd, the group has developed terms of reference outlining how the agencies will work with each other to serve the community.
“We’re committed as a team and the spirit of collaboration is there,” says Shepherd. “We are on the right track.”
Shepherd sees work as essential for a strong future and says, “The role of schools has become increasingly complex. We understand that students cannot learn unless they are physically, mentally, or emotionally safe. Therefore, community welfare work is vital – it takes a village to raise a child and it takes collaboration and, these days, leveraging resources across organizations, to be able to create meaningful and lasting change for students and their families. ”
“I am grateful to the Stettler community service organizations for coming together and working in partnership and I look forward to continuing this work in the months and years to come,” Sheperd adds.
The Bashaw Community Wellness Team would be delighted to see this work take place in Stettler and hope it will spread throughout rural Alberta.
“We believe this model is a proven, evidence-based model for the well-being and sustainability of rural communities,” says Northey. “We hope that as rural communities begin to implement the model in their own communities, we will come together as rural communities to collaborate and develop what we need. Essentially, we should be able to replicate the model regionally with regional collaboration to serve our individuals, seniors and families.