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Building bridges

Community Hubs Program to officially launch on Sept. 8

By Janet Harron

Necessity is the mother of invention and from mighty oaks little acorns grow.

They are apt metaphors for Memorial’s community hubs, now numbering 17 all around Newfoundland and Labrador.

The program will officially launch via livestream on Friday, Sept. 8, at 11:30 a.m. (NT) via Memorial’s YouTube channel.

Official launch on Sept. 8

Grenfell Campus and its partners established the Community Hubs Program in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Further consultations throughout rural, remote and northern areas of Newfoundland and Labrador revealed the need for technology-enabled community spaces to be widespread.

By working with partners such as community groups, provincial organizations, governments, educational institutions and others that already operate buildings in communities, the Community Hubs Program is able to provide financial support for high-speed internet, other technology and programming support to increase access and opportunity within existing spaces. The majority of the hubs are located in spaces such as public libraries and Community Business Development Corporation branches.

The Community Hubs Program will officially launch on Friday, Sept. 8, in a live-streamed event from the Emera Innovation Exchange Community Hub at the Signal Hill Campus. The event begins at 11:30 a.m. (NT)

Community hub locations will host in-person events to coincide with the live stream.

Anyone wishing to attend the launch by live stream or in person at participating locations can register here.

Access and capacity

Each community hub looks a little different because each community has its own culture and personality, as well as its own needs and challenges.

Memorial collaborates with communities in existing structures to increase access and capacity, working with each hub to co-design the space and determine what the support will entail.

The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Global Affairs Canada and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador provided funding to support the Community Hub Program.

Continuing education

Memorial’s Harris Centre, in partnership with the Grenfell and Labrador campuses, is the lead for the program.

“Ultimately, the plan is for the community hubs to be venues for Memorial’s continuing education offerings as well as other community-based programming, engagement, teaching and learning, and research,” said Bojan Furst, manager, knowledge mobilization, at the Harris Centre and the chair of the hubs’ programming committee.

Further information on the community hubs project can be found here.

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