GNSC - Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition


Nurturing Neighbourhoods Initiative


The Nurturing Neighbourhoods Initiative (NNI) is led by the Partner organizations of the GNSC who have a shared goal to support the health and development of children and create a resilient community.

The NNI emerged in response to needs identified by service providers working in different neighbourhoods. It is aligned with the findings and recommendations of a Public Health report on the social determinants of Health in Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph. Through conversations with community members, the NNI was developed to ensure families and children who need support most have access to resources and services.

NNI includes three projects that represent different, but complementary approaches to building neighbourhood-based supports around the needs of isolated or struggling families with potentially vulnerable children.

The NNI recognizes and celebrates the strengths and assets that exist within Guelph neighbourhoods. With the support and success of the Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition, great progress has been made in these projects.

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Our Partners

Family & Children’s Services of Guelph and Wellington County, the Guelph Community Health Centre, the Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health have been the lead agencies involved, with support from the GNSC Partner Panel. Toward Common Ground provides leadership to support collective response to local needs.

We are looking to expand partnership to inform and guide community planning that is grounded in the prevention of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and promotion of resiliency in children, families, and communities. For more information about ACEs, click here.

  • Goals & Objectives

Goal: Resilient communities where vulnerable children and families are supported to achieve optimal physical, mental, social, and emotional health.


  1. Increase protective factors for vulnerable children and families at the community level
  2. Decrease risk factors for vulnerable children and families at the community level
  3. Increase community capacity to respond to social and economic needs of children and families
  4. Increase early supports and access to services for vulnerable children and families


  1. Increased social capital (more community connections)
  2. Increased sustained access to basic needs
  3. Responsive and flexible service system that is rooted in Health Equity and ecological views of families and children
  4. Increased community safety
  5. Decreased child maltreatment
  6. Improved family functioning


NNI includes three projects that represent different but complementary approaches to building neighbourhood-based supports around the needs of isolated or struggling families.

Parent Outreach Workers

Since November 2012, Parent Outreach Workers have been available to help families in the Brant Avenue and Two Rivers neighbourhoods of Guelph. In 2015, a third Parent Outreach Worker started in the Grange Hill East Neighbourhood. Building on existing neighbourhood assets and strengths, the Neighbourhood Support Workers and Parent Outreach Workers provide unique, but complementary support to achieve the common goal of safe and resilient communities.

The goal of the “Parent Outreach Worker Program” (POW program) is to find, reach out to and help families with children who may be isolated or struggling.

The Parent Outreach Workers (POWs) work in Neighbourhood Group spaces, building on the trust and connections that have already been established within the community. They hold regular office hours and informal drop-ins; participate in events and programs of the Neighbourhood Groups, schools and local service agencies; they visit families in their homes; and go where prospective families are (such as school bus stops).

By actively looking for families who may be struggling and need help, but may not know where and how to find the help available to them, the POW’s are able to help families with:

  • Finding and using the services they need, earlier and more often
  • Creating larger and stronger networks of informal social support (often through their deep connection with the Neighbourhood Group)
  • Feel increasingly connected with their communities
  • Have better access to basic needs
  • Get better services that meet their unique needs


Parent Outreach Worker from on Vimeo.