Villeray dans l'Est
An initiative of the Conseil communautaire Solidarités Villeray
It had become obvious that the gap between the eastern and western parts of the Villeray neighbourhood was very real, especially with regard to unemployment, poverty and multi-ethnicity. The neighbourhood’s social problems were concentrated in the eastern part; its community agencies were concentrated in the western part. A determination to tackle this inequality between the two main sections of the neighbourhood, by closing the gap between them, led to the creation of the Villeray dans l’Est project.
The first initiative of Villeray dans l’Est was to find premises that would enable the agencies located in the western part of the neighbourhood to make their activities more accessible to residents of the eastern part. Why create new resources when the neighbourhood already had a variety of community agencies? All that needed to be done was to provide a space for the development of services adapted to the population of the eastern part of the neighbourhood.
Inaugurated in 2007, the premises of Villeray dans l’Est are intended to serve as a welcoming place for families, newcomers, people living alone, and so on. Citizens and social stakeholders are called upon to get involved in the management and development of its community building activities, which include French language courses, a “Magasin-Partage” thrift store, joint activities with local schools, intercultural relationship building, sports and leisure activities, cultural outings and neighbourhood festivals. This mobilization contributes to the social, cultural and economic revitalization of the eastern part of the neighbourhood.
Villeray dans l’Est reaches 700 people, of whom 35% are adults and 65% are children. A full 85% of the people helped are newcomers, especially of North African, Latin American and Haitian origin.
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