Inclusiveness. Equality. Empowerment. Engagement. Innovation.
With these five values in mind, the Burnaby Neighbourhood House provides support, resources, information and services to families and individuals across all cultures and age groups in the Burnaby area.
“We’re really looking to residents and people already living and working in the community to step up and support each other,” says Antonia Beck, Executive Director of the volunteer-driven, community-based social services agency. “We’re breaking down barriers and creating those positive experiences for everybody to feel like they belong.”
Programs offered by the Burnaby Neighbourhood House are accessible to everyone and they pay special attention to addressing language, cultural and financial barriers by providing a welcoming environment and offering free or low-cost programs and services for the participants.
“One of our charitable goals is to alleviate poverty, so we make sure our programs are as accessible as possible,” says Beck.
Twenty years ago, residents of the south Burnaby neighbourhood recognized the need for a neighbourhood house after seeing similar projects find success in Vancouver. It led a small group of community members to incorporate the “House” in 1996.
As programs began to expand and partnerships with other organizations formed, Burnaby’s first Neighbourhood House continued to grow. Responding to community needs, a second “House” was established in north Burnaby two years ago. This second location is under the banner of Burnaby Neighbourhood House and is also quickly developing as a valuable resource to north Burnaby residents.
“We come from a social justice perspective,” says Beck. “We focus on social support and access. Whereas the primary focus of a community centre is on a community’s recreational needs, people come to a Neighbourhood House because they need support of some kind, they want to get involved and because they want to feel connected and build relationships.”
The Burnaby Neighbourhood House currently offers a range of supportive programs which include information and referral, early years drop-in, daycare and preschool services, youth engagement programs, cultural nights, adult literacy support, seniors social groups and more. Community members are also invited to create their own programs or workshops with full support from neighbourhood house staff.