BY: John Driscoll
DATE: Tuesday, October 7, 2003

Resource-2[1]Community Living Campbellford/Brighton is part of a pilot project for Ontario designed to develop a data bank of skills and assets in rural communities. The plan is to use the databank to match skills and assets within the community and develop action plans for community development where needed. “If the community doesn’t know what its assets are, it is impossible to utilize those assets locally, for example, there might be five carpenters traveling to Belleville from Campbellford who are not aware there is a place just up the road looking for carpenters. A map of skills and assets will help to link them.” explains Chris.

The project, funded by the federal government, involves five small communities including Havelock, Haliburton, Millbrook, North Kawartha, Trent Hills (in which Campbellford is located) and COIN (Community Opportunity and Innovation Network), a Peterborough-based non-profit development corporation.

The Community Resource Centre in Campbellford, managed by Community Living Campbellford/Brighton, has taken on sponsorship of the project locally.

The first step is a survey asking people between 14 and 55 years of age about their skills, academic training, areas of interest, hobbies and what they might like to do if given the opportunity, explains Chris.

That involves training local people to train the volunteers who will do the survey that is aiming to include more than 1,600 people in Brighton and Campbellford, he says. “We already offer a lot of training at the resource centre.”

People associated with Community Living are among those being trained as volunteers who will interview people, Chris says. They will also be promoting the project in the community.

The survey is the first stage of the project. The second stage headed up by COIN is the development of a database of 5,000 names for the five communities.

The third stage is the creation of an action plan, Chris says.

Using the data bank, those involved in the project will look for trends. For example, traditionally in rural areas the academic level is not high and there could be a need to provide academic upgrading, he says.

The resource centre is also a campus of Loyalist College in Belleville and already co-ordinates many courses and programs including computer training, he points out.

If the pilot project is successful, it could be adopted in rural communities across the province, Chris says. “It’s an exciting project and we are pleased to be part of it.”