Takeaways of “Beyond Participation” Presented by: Co-operative housing Federation of Toronto (Presenter: Michelle Arscott)

Key takeaway: Participation is not a co-op principle, BUILDING COMMUNITY IS. However, encouraging community involvement is important in a co-op as it helps
make it more democratic, spreads the work of managing the co-op and gives
members the opportunity to learn new skills.

What makes it hard for members to be involved: Group discussion identified
committees/projects may be stale, cliquish, unwelcoming (new members have to
attend 3-4 meetings before being allowed to join). Accessibility, be it language, notice and time of meetings, information on different committees and even
location (for people with disabilities) are all challenges at City Park. Limited time
of some Members has to be recognized and opportunities to only volunteer for a
day or two is a reality for some and should be encouraged.

Encouraging Community Involvement – Making it easier for members to be
Group discussion identified that while City Park has a good number of
committee/projects and member events, a combination of better information on
these committees/projects and outreach to inform Members to let them know of
opportunities to volunteer ranging from 1 day help in an event, serving on a
committee/project and even on the Board of Directors.

Recommendations for consideration: Posting City Park’s website address boldly
on the lobby and laundry room information boards. Improve information on
website. Improve visibility (font size etc.) of postings on City Park’s information
boards. Consider need for an accessibility committee/project with a focus on
ways to facilitate participation in committee/projects, Board meetings and
Members meetings (Examples: finding ways to better link volunteer to help
someone with disability get to a meeting, consider offering free child care service
to help Members with children attend the Annual General Members Meeting or a
General Members Meeting)
Linda Gallant, Director – Education