Community Development

Building Community Since 1975…

IMG_2014Mills Community Support has a history of thinking big and unlocking the capacity in communities to finding local solutions. From its beginnings in the 1970’s working to improve neighbourhood water and sanitation services Mills Community Support has responded to community needs by innovating, collaborating and seeing opportunities where others see problems, gaps and challenges. This is because we put people at the centre of our work.

Mills Community Support is now a multi-service organization and a registered charity building community capacity in eastern Lanark County by provide caring and compassionate, person-centred programs and services, and affordable housing for people of all ages and abilities as well as undertaking community development initiatives.

We have a direct impact on the lives of local people. Over 1000 people are served by our organization. More than 600 seniors and adults with a physical disability are helped to live on their own through home support and assisted living, and respite services. Forty-nine adults with intellectual disabilities are cared for and included in community life. As the second largest non-profit housing provider in Lanark County we provide 134 housing units for seniors and families.

Dynamic and Reciprocal Community Partnerships…are one of our key assets. Our people-centred approach inspires the contribution of over 220 community volunteers, and the committed collaboration of our many friends, advocates and funders.

Through all of our initiatives in all of our communities we strengthen community connections and sense of belonging of the people. We find ways for people of all ages and abilities to share their gifts and talents and through this help people move from simply clients to engaged citizens.IMG_2239

We also contribute to the local economy sound and prudent governance and management of 145 staff and prudent management of housing assets valued at $12.7 million and an operating budget of $8.5 million.

At the Core of Our Community Capacity Building Efforts are initiatives that build social capital for the people we serve; remove barriers to inclusion; promote and advocate for welcoming and healthy communities; strengthen linkages with other community; and identify and share information on innovative ideas and best practices in community capacity building. Below are some of our recent successes in bringing together community members of all ages and abilities.

Mills Community Support Community Capacity Building Successes

Neighbourhood Tomato Community Garden Project (initiated in 2010) Mills Community Support staff and people supported through our Developmental Services Program partnered with Almonte General Hospital, Day Hospital, Lanark Community Support Services, Almonte Country Haven) to build raised accessible garden beds. Community partners grew vegetables for their own use and additional harvest was donated to the Lanark County Food Bank.

Edible Tree Project Mills Community Support and individuals supported through our Developmental Services Program, worked with community partners to secure a Tree Canada grant to plant fruit trees in each of Mississippi Mills’ hamlets. Apple and pear trees were purchased through the Mississippi Mills Chamber of Commerce Annual Tree Sale. Once producing fruit, harvests will be shared in the community with additional harvest to be donated to the Lanark County Food Bank. Involved community groups included: Pakenham Horticultural Society, Friends of the Cedar Hill Schoolhouse, Clayton Cares, Blakeney Citizens, Appleton Residents Association; Almonte Horticultural Society, and the Almonte and District High School. Click here to visit the Neighbourhood Tomato Facebook page for more information.

Augusta Street Park Revitalization Project   Mills Community Support is working with the Town of Mississippi Mills using asset-based community development to engage and encourage neighbours and community partners to revitalize this park. Elements in the park will include a BMX pump track for young cyclists, accessible walking track and bridge, and community gardens, and a splash pad. A successful community musical fundraiser, It’s a Walk in the Park…Augusta, engaged 77 community volunteers and many community patrons. Like this project on Facebook by clicking here.

Annual Seniors’ Expo   (held in 2011, 2012 and 2013): In collaboration with the Almonte Baptist Church, Alzheimer’s Society of Lanark County and with support from the Lanark Chapter of the Canadian Association of Retired Persons, Mills Community Support hosted annual Seniors’ Expos in the Town of Mississippi. Various exhibitors and presenters representing local services, programs and organizations provided a welcoming and friendly environment for senior to make contact and get information. In 2012 a portion of the funds raised from this event were contributed to the ‘Hub Hospice’, another community capacity initiative in the Town of Mississippi Mills.

Connecting People to Share Ideas    The Mills Community Support has facilitated many discussions and idea sharing forums including: a community discussion with local provincial election candidates; local community economic development dialogues; a seniors’ issues forum in collaboration the Town of Carleton Place; launch of a community connectors network in Smiths Falls; and a presentation series by renowned Professor John McKnight on Asset-Based Community Development in the towns of Mississippi Mills, Carleton Place and Smiths Falls.

Awards    In recognition of our leadership in community development the Mills Community Support received the 2012 James Montgomery Community Award from Community Living Ontario for its work to promote the inclusion of individuals with an intellectual disability in all aspects of our communities.