New to the village, Claire and Johnston Callaghan with twin sons, Kieren and Kaden attend the Wellesley newcomer barbecue last Thursday at the community centre.
By Gail Martin
Special to the Independent
Newcomers to the village of Wellesley received a warm welcome on Aug. 21, at a community barbecue that was designed with them in mind.
The Wellesley Board of Trade and the Wellesley Community Health Centre combined forces last Thursday, to help new residents meet their neighbours, and get connected to the many services found in the community.
Lynda Kohler, from the health centre, said that the idea came out of community meetings held in Wellesley three years ago, when long-time residents expressed the desire to meet their new neighbours.
“They said they wanted some way to get to know the people in the community,” said Kohler.
After applying for a grant to the Lyle S. Hallman Foundation, the health centre partnered with the board of trade to make the community barbecue a reality.
More than 700 invitations were hand-delivered by the Wellesley Youth Council, inviting both long-time residents and those who have just moved in.
Lisa and Keith McIntyre were among some of the newest residents at the barbecue, having just moved from Windsor last week.
They were full of praise for the event.
“It’s nice for new people in the area, to meet people,” said Lisa. “We’ve enjoyed the socializing.”
This is the second year for the barbecue. In addition to the two barbecues, the money from the Hallman Foundation has been used to produce a glossy brochure about the village, highlighting events, as well as providing a business directory.
Each new resident who came to the barbecue received a welcome package full of brochures and items from local businesses, and were introduced to others on their street, by a unique seating system that had everyone sitting in “streets.”
They also had a chance to view 19 different displays from community agencies and organizations, such as the health centre, the Board of Trade, the local 4-H club, and more.
Kohler said the idea was not only to provide information about services that are available, but to give residents an idea of the many ways they can help out.
“This gives people an opportunity to volunteer in the community as well,” said Kohler. “We hope to draw some interest (in these groups).”
Local politicians were also on hand at the barbecue, including Kitchener-Conestoga MP Harold Albrecht.
“It’s a great idea,” Albrecht enthused. “It’s just too easy to live in our own little subdivision, and not get to know anybody. Wellesley does a great job of things like this.”