photo of bicycle shop window
Trillium Funds AT: Culture Shift

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) has approved funding for AT: Culture Shift, a 12-month initiative to develop and imlement a comprehensive communications strategy to promote walking, cycling and non-motorized modes of transportation in Renfrew County.

Trillium Funds AT: Culture Shift

Fri, 2012-12-07 09:46 -- betty biesenthal

AT: Culture Shift is a collaborative culture-shifting exercise comprising key components of Designed to Move – A Communication Strategy to Support Active Transportation in Renfrew County, Phase I: Education and Promotion. The concept comes from a desire to be more creative in establishing spaces in our communities where we can be active; to make our communities more emotive and expressive in order to shift perceptions.

Throughout 2013, AT: Culture Shift will integrate community and curriculum-based initiatives geared to promoting the benefits of Active Transportation (AT) through the lens of culture and creative arts, in order to spur change in current patterns of health inequity, automobile dependency and sedentary culture.

Shifting culture to support and embrace AT while increasing access to relevant opportunities relies on:
• establishing a strong brand comprising clear messages,
• knowledge sharing, education and community engagement to improve opportunities and change perceptions, and
• promoting inclusive opportunities for all levels of age, abilities and skill.

To implement the project effectively, the lead partners will implement a population health approach as defined by Health Canada, with the aim of improving the health of the entire population while reducing health inequities among specific groups: “The population health approach recognizes that health is a capacity or resource rather than a state, a definition which corresponds more to the notion of being able to pursue one’s goals, to acquire skills and education, and to grow. This broader notion of health recognizes the range of social, economic and physical environmental factors that contribute to health. “

Active Transportation is a key priority identified by the PAN-RC and the Healthy Community Partnership (HCP). It provides the opportunity to collectively improve the health, well-being and quality of life for everyone in Renfrew County by supporting safe and inclusive walking and cycling options in our communities.

Support by the County of Renfrew has been documented in the Active Transportation Strategy, an important collaboration of four municipal departments and community partners that was approved by County Council in Spring 2012.

The Strategy sets out a process to promote and invest in safe opportunities for increased active engagement for people of all ages and abilities through the transportation sector and our built and natural environment. It highlights the need for local and collaborative initiatives and improved practices such as share-the-road, as well as capital improvements such as signage,
stenciling, and constructing/enhancing roads and trails.

The vision of the Strategy is to integrate AT into the fabric of community life across Renfrew County, creating supportive mindsets and environments for safer and equal opportunities; thus education, promotion and community engagement are key elements for success.

The project partners are taking a creative approach to help cultivate this shift will target new audiences, inspire user-based messaging, and spur collaborative events and intiatives reflecting the rich cultural and artistic identity that defines much of Renfrew County.

AT Culture Shift partners include:
• Friends of Bonnechere Parks (FBP)
• KidActive
• Ontario Parks - Bonnechere Provincial Parks
• County of Renfrew Emergency Services (Community Paramedicine Program)
* County of Renfrew Property and Development
• County of Renfrew Public Works
• Physical Activity Network - Renfrew County

As partners and individually, the FBP and KidActive have a proven track record for managing, developing and delivering community based projects that focus on creative implementation through collaboration, innovation and engagement, most recently on the FIT trail enhancement project, which received a 2012 Canadian Parks Council (CPC) Award of Merit, one of only three awarded this year across Canada, To quote CPC Executive Director John Good, “The CPC developed a Healthy by Nature framework, to facilitate collaboration between park agencies and ministries of fitness and health promotion. The FIT trail project is exactly the type of collaboration that the Council hoped would emerge through highlighting the contribution that healthful outdoor activities make to people’s physical and mental well-being.”

According to FBP President Anne Burchat, "The Friends of Bonnehere Parks and KidActive have pledged to apply this same level of passion and expertise to the AT: Culture Shift project, so that we can help increase access to AT services and infrastructure for the health and well-being of all Renfrew County residents and visitors."

She goes on to quote from the Ontario Parks Insider regarding the Healthy Parks Program: "Visitors to Ontario Parks are well aware of the benefits these protected places provide to people, the community and the environment. It’s now our job to help the rest of the population understand the health benefits of a hiking trail, the stress reducing value of a silent lake-side evening or the connection between healthy forests and clean air."

The AT: Culture Shift project is funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

If you or your organization is interested in hosting an AT event. please use the comment form below.

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