For years The Cedarbrae Community Centre was underused, often locked, sadly neglected. Many residents in Cedarbrae wouldn’t have been able to say what the building even was. It became a haven for vandals and bad rentals. Often times there was barely enough money coming in to keep the lights on.
A dedicated group of residents swept onto the Community’s Board of Directors the fall of 2014. They saw potential in the Centre as a welcoming, active and busy heart of the neighbourhood. The Board set out to make lots of little changes – ‘baby-steps’ to embrace the Community and fill the Centre.
First, the doors were opened! A simple door sign saying ‘Come in, we’re open’ and prime-time staffing to answer the phone, respond to emails, all in a welcoming way. A warm atmosphere developed in which to do business – cordial discussions with questions/concerns professionally addressed. Reaching out to residents became regular events including the highly popular Meet Your Neighbour Nights!
Second, we gave it a good scrub! Lots of hard work and elbow grease! Then we could see what needed to be fixed, and what just needed the shine we put on it. Once it was clean we dedicated ourselves to keeping it that way.
Third, getting it done! Once we knew what needed to be fixed we set about fixing it! This was a problem in the past due to limited revenue; but once we opened the doors and welcomed everyone to come in, the Centre’s rental revenue began to grow in ways we hadn’t imagined possible! Soon there were new lights, floors, doors and cameras, and solid plans to fix the rest.
As often happens, a small positive change began to snowball into something amazing! Potential renters receive a tour of the Centre and clear answers about expectations and fair pricing. Great events take place with the full support of staff and volunteers, and rental referrals flow in. Potential long-term renters looking for a high-traffic lively venue find it here, and the Centre’s usage numbers grows by leaps and bounds.
The Directors aren’t just looking for rentals; they’ve made partnerships with local sporting and non-profit groups to offer free events and low-cost classes to Cedarbrae’s residents, young and old alike.
Our snowball grew into something everyone in the neighbourhood could see! Memberships rose, attendance at events like our Stampede BBQ, and Community Clean-up increased like never before. More individuals wanted to be involved, they started volunteering to help, attending our Board meetings and checking out the Centre.
Success has brought new challenges and lots of change, but keeping on our positive track, and taking baby steps everyday ensures our community’s snowball continues to grow! Someday soon you may be able to see it from where you live! We hope our story is an inspiration to encourage you in making your neighbourhood and our city a better place to live learn, work and play!