Social Participation

What We Heard

Most respondents answered this question begrudgingly, because there is simply is no money for social activity. The clear implication is that fun is a luxury few can afford. Although many may say that entertainment is a luxury, the general lack of social participation leads to a whole host issues that work against people, including isolation, depression, and no opportunity for stress relief.

Lack of funds for transportation is a substantial barrier to participation in community events. As one person said, “Events are free, transportation is not free”.

For many newcomers with family back home, basic requirements such as food are sacrificed so phone calls can be made to loved ones. Parents said barriers exist for their children, as social assistance does not cover the cost of school trips.

For those who face barriers going out due to transportation costs or disability, cable T.V. was a sole form of entertainment. Others do manage to engage in low cost hobbies such as art, the occasional movie, or playing musical instruments.

For some, social participation is enabled through their volunteer work or through multi-service agencies which address practical needs to ensure people can attend. Many pointed to this as a positive that could be further developed.

Questions For Discussion

1. How can the non-profit sector and organizations providing volunteer hours or other opportunities further capitalize on their ability to provide social activities for people?
2. Is there a government role in supporting low-cost or free community activities? Non-profit organizations?
3. Where does transportation planning and policy fit in regards to improving people’s participation in their community?