This webpage is for the people of the Toronto Conference for story sharing and networking.

 A Story of  

 

CENTRAL UNITED CHURCH WESTON

Established 1821

 Toronto West Presbytery

 

The goal of our ministry in Weston is to live out our faith through our witness and actions. "Witness and action" is shaped by the needs of our community which has evolved rapidly into a neigbbourhood with many "inner city" characteristics and needs. The situation is compounded further by the fact

"Witness and Action" is shaped by the needs of our community

that this is one of the most under serviced areas for municipal and social services in the city of Toronto. Our location on the former Main Street of Weston (now Weston Road) provides a high profile. readily accessible community meeting place.

 

Our first initiative was the sponsorship of a 119 unit not-for-profit seniors housing project known as the Central King Seniors Residence. This was built on church property leased to the project, and adjoins the church itself.

 

First opened in 1994, CKSR has become a model of its kind for the quality of its facilities, the caring community it has become and its effective, responsive administration and management.

 

Our second initiative, started some seven years ago, was to host a community dinner on Tuesday evenings. The purpose was to provide a hearty wholesome meal and an opportunity to meet friends in a warm welcoming environment. This program has expanded over the years to include the provision of a variety of services to meet the needs of our clientele. These needs include good used clothing, help with finding housing, replacing lost identification documents, health issues (including HIV, AIDS and drug issues), immigration concerns, etc. With the introduction of federal funding through the Supporting Community Partnership Initiative Program (SCPI) administered by the City of Toronto, we received grants to expand our work. Our neighbourhood centre is now open three days a week and we have a full time program coordinator and a part-time street worker on staff. We have also upgraded our equipment and facilities to provide better service to our clients. Our upgrades include the provision

of shower and laundry facilities. We are currently completing Incorporation as the Weston King Neighbourhood Centre to help us obtain funding grants far the ongoing operations of the Centre in the future.We have also developed two seasonal programs in partial response to the needs of children in our community. Due to the lack of parks and Recreation programs in this area of the city, four or five years ago we started "fun Fridays"  for children in the months of July and August.

The purpose was to provide a hearty wholesome meal and an opportunity to meet friends in a warm welcoming environment.

 

 

In order to serve more children we have a separate registration (or each month which allows us to work with approximately thirty children per month. "Fun Fridays" include such activities as handicrafts, games, a nourishing noonday meal, swimming in a private pool, and a month-end outing, generally to Toronto Island. Response from the children and their parents has been most rewarding, and we have received service club and corporate funding in recognition of the value of the program.51 the winter months, far the last couple of years, we have provided "Welcoming Wednesdays," working with children from the public school across the street from us. We give one-on-one homework help far children referred to us by the school. This program is limited hi numbers, depending upon the availability of volunteers. The program begins after school and includes a snack, with most time spent on specific assigned schoolwork and concludes with a story time. Students, parents and the school have been vocal in their appreciation of this program.

 

In conclusion, it must be stressed that these last three programs would not exist without the help we receive in planning and operations from the volunteers of neighbouring Westminster United, Weston Park Baptist St. John's Anglican and Weston Presbyterian Churches, as well as volunteers from the community at large. Further, many of the services available to our service users through our neighbourhood centre are prΆΡvided by partner community and city agencies, such as the Syme-Woolner Neighbourhood and Family Centre and "The Works" - the Toronto Public Health Department. Our experience is that by working with other like-minded people in the community we can accomplish things none of us could do on our own.

 

 

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