Improve quality of life and promote social development in the South of the West Island of Montreal
WHO WE ARE
The Table de Quartier Sud de l’Ouest de l’Île (TQSOI) is a non-profit community organisation that aims to improve the quality of life of the citizens of the southern West Island. It facilitates a roundtable and unites the citizens, elected officials from all three levels of government (municipal, provincial and federal), community organisations as well as businesses and institutions. The TQSOI encourages the collaboration in the community in order to develop a global vision and to achieve greater results by acting collectively on making improvements in the community.
The focus of the TQSOI is the individual citizen who is the beneficiary of social development in their community. Social development allows each and every individual in the community to develop their potential and actively participate in social life. It also enables individuals and the community to take their fair share from the social, cultural and economic resources that are made available to them.1 When social development is successful, the quality of life of citizens is improved.
1Initiative Montrealaise de Soutien au Development Social Local (2015)
WHAT WE DO
The TQSOI creates a space for citizens, elected officials, businesses, community organizations and institutions for collaboration, communication of citizens’ preoccupations, ideas, a space where individual efforts are combined so that their impact is magnified. The TQSOI facilitates discussion and collaboration so that many different voices can be combined as one, while individual efforts are transformed into collective action in a way that can bring real change and a significant impact. This kind of collaboration is a driving force of social change in modern society, and is necessary to create a sustainable community.
HOW WE DO IT
The TQSOI uses a five step process to achieve a better quality of life in the region. First, the TQSOI assesses the situation: it collects citizens’ perspective about their quality of life through the creation of citizen’s forums, the distribution of surveys and by organizing focus groups. Afterwards, it creates a space for members of the community to combine their various insights into a collective vision for future improvements. The TQSOI then forms committees that work on each of the priorities identified by members of the community; these committees include representatives from institutions, community organisations, elected officials as well as citizens. Committees identify the actions and strategies needed to achieve their established objectives. Following this, the actions identified are implemented over a five year period. Finally, a comprehensive evaluation of the social development action plan is done at the end of its five year implementation.
WHY WE EXIST
Although the south of the West Island has a reputation for wealth and a high standard of living compared to its surrounding territories, there are hidden pockets of poverty and social and material deprivation that exists throughout the region. The lack of affordable housing, the difficulty accessing fresh and nutritious food and an inefficient transportation are some of the problems existing in the region. Furthermore, there are many citizens, community organisations and other key stakeholders in the southern West Island who work to address these various problems and who previously did not have a space to communicate and collaborate in order to magnify their efforts. The decision to form a community council (Table de quartier), became an obvious and a necessary one, with the aim to unite many local forces in addressing the needs of the population.
Several members of the community chose to unite and establish a roundtable where local stakeholders could discuss the issues of poverty and other concerns encountered in the southern West Island. A multi-sectoral network is fundamentally necessary in order to build a global vision of local priorities, and to align efforts and actions with the aim of improving the quality of life for everyone – especially for the less fortunate members of the community. With the creation of the TQSOI, the community actors can now interact, plan together and act collectively.