Resources for Small, Rural and Remote Communities
Now Available: Resources tailored to the rural community context!
This resource portal is a response to the unique opportunities, challenges, and approaches to fostering health and well-being in small, rural and remote communities in BC. The portal offers resources related to PlanH action areas with a rural lens.
The Rural Context
There are over 110 cities, towns, municipalities and villages in BC and of those, over 75% are small, rural or remote communities of less than 30,000 people.i A healthy community approach takes resources and leadership. This can be challenging in small and remote communities where there are fewer organizations, resources and volunteers to do the work. There is often no organization to lead on new or emerging issues like food security or support for seniors at home, and yet the need is often there.
On the positive side, there are many tools and examples of rural success and innovation. Many of these examples are stories of collaborating across sectors, and all of them illustrate “can do” attitudes and creativity to improve well-being.
Resources are organized by the same Take Action Areas as the rest of the PlanH site (Healthy Society, Healthy People, Healthy Environment), for ease of searching.
If you find the portal useful, or if you are looking for something specific, we would love to hear from you in the next year as we continue to build out the resources. Contact us here.
This report explores New Zealand’s ‘Bright Spots’: – local places and community initiatives that are making a positive difference to children and families. Instead of asking about the issues and problems for ‘vulnerable children’ or ‘high-needs families’, we ask ‘what’s working?’ What are ‘bright spots’ doing that is different from the rest of the country? Why are they having an impact?
Sangudo, Alberta is a town of 400 residents who revitalized their community through Community Owned Investment Fund. These funds are driving revitalization in rural communities in Alberta and Nova Scotia, and have great potential for use in other places. This article tells the story of Sangudo's transformation and provides many helpful links.
- Don McNair
The District of Clearwater is a rural community of 2400 residents, and was confronted with one major obstacle to cultivating a vibrant economy and encouraging active transportation: a main highway running right through the middle of the community.
BC Co-Op Housing website offers education and information about co-op housing and their membership benefits such as governance support and shared services which may be particularly useful in isolated rural communities.
- Co-op Housing Federation of BC
Cobble Hill Village had the intention of responding to the results of an Age-Friendly Community Project study by creating a mixed-use development that included affordable housing, but were soon informed by seniors included in the study that this was not necessarily what the Cobble Hill seniors wanted or needed.
The Rural Development Institute (RDI), at Selkirk College, is a regional research centre with a mandate to support decision-making by Columbia Basin-Boundary communities through the provision of information, applied research and outreach and extension support.
The Community Co-operative Model was developed in the Muskoka District of Ontario to support formal organizing and advocacy across communities in rural regions. This model recognizes the unique value and challenges of rural towns, and the role of community strengths in addressing economic and social well-being.
- Phyllis Winnington Ingram
This on-line toolkit from Ontario supports rural communities to develop their own healthy food plan. The Toolkit is an assessment and planning resource with three steps: i. Getting Started ii. Visioning Exercises iii. SWOT Analysis and Asset / Gap Mapping. Tools and case studies are included.
- Nourish Ontario
This guide from Scotland covers important considerations in small town community engagement and offers 15 pages of engagement tools from arts based to focus groups, open space, future search and street stalls.
- Community Places
Outlines some co-benefits of local government actions on climate change that create healthier communities.
– Vancouver Coastal Health
This document has been prepared for use by local governments, the development community, landowners and environmental organizations as a comprehensive guide to maintaining environmental values during the development of urban and rural lands.
It sets out the program priorities of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, the Ministry of Environment, and other provincial and federal agencies, promoting ways to retain and create environmental function and resilience as communities grow.
The toolkit was designed to support (in particular smaller) towns in the UK and Ireland to prepare for change. The compass model helps communities assess and then make plans to strengthen four aspects of resilience: healthy, engaged people; inclusive, creative culture; cross community links and a localized economy.
- Fiery Spirits Community of Practice, Carnegie UK Trust
FarmFolk CityFolk is a not for profit society that works to cultivate a local, sustainable food systems in BC. A resource for community projects around access and protection of foodlands; supporting local growers and producers; and celebrating of local food.
- Farm Folk City Folk
Food Secure Canada is a pan-Canadian alliance working to advance food security and food sovereignty through three goals: zero hunger, healthy and safe food, and sustainable food systems. Their resources cover health, food justice, business, school programs including a Northern/Remote section.
- Food Secure Canada
From Need to Opportunity is a social enterprise guide by and for rural communities in Ontario. This guide walks through the steps from what is a social enterprise to feasibility work, business planning and financing. - Social Enterprise Rural Alliance