Community Mobilization Westman to be honoured with Courage Award

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The members of the HUB Table.

Members of Community Mobilization Westman will be presented with a Courage Award from Assiniboine Community College.

The Courage Award was established by Assiniboine in 2017 to commend and honour people who demonstrate courage in all its forms in their business, community, professional or personal life. Previous recipients include Don Penny and Sheldon Kennedy.

Community Mobilization Westman is a community safety and wellbeing initiative. The Community Mobilization unit is comprised of representatives from multiple social service agencies. This group of representatives, known as the “HUB”, gather twice a week to identify at-risk individuals in the community and provide them with the appropriate social services.

“Community Mobilization Westman works for a safer and better community, improving the lives of people within Westman,” said Assiniboine president Mark Frison.

This group sets aside individual mandates and interests in favour of the collective good. Community Mobilization Westman embodies the courage to do things differently. They are demonstrating how innovation in the public sector can achieve results when undertaken in a planned and deliberate fashion.

“The Brandon Police Service championed this initiative, which launched five years ago, to assist individuals in the Westman area experiencing acutely elevated risk. Our many partners were eager to join forces to ensure that Westman was seen as a leader in this area. On behalf of the members of Community Mobilization Westman, I’d like to thank Assiniboine for this recognition of courage,” said Wayne Balcaen, Chief of the Brandon Police Service and co-chair of the Community Mobilization Steering Committee.

Since the launch, our HUB Team has collectively met hundreds of times to discuss risk driven situations and strategize on how best to ensure our clients are seamlessly connected to the services they require.  The results have been remarkable.

Since its inception in 2015, the HUB has had 651 cases come across their table. Of these, 136 have been informed of available services and 423 have been directly connected to services. The services offered by the HUB are completely voluntary and only 3.7% of cases have refused services.  

The HUB Table breaks down the silos that social services work in, promoting collaboration for risk driven, pre-emptive response. Their goal is to connect individuals and families determined to be at an elevated risk with supports or services before the situation escalates to the need for emergency response or tragedy occurs.

Prairie Mountain Health (PMH) strongly supports this evidence-based approach to building a safer and healthier community.  With this coordinated, multi-agency initiative, everyone is pulling on the same rope to quickly connect people to supports and services within the community and region,” said Penny Gilson, CEO of Prairie Mountain Health and co-chair of the Community Mobilization Steering Committee. 

Based on its tremendous success, PMH has collaborated with other communities within the health region to further champion this framework in efforts to achieve similar goals and objectives.

Community Mobilization Westman is the first group in Manitoba to adopt the Community Mobilization model first seen in Canada in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan in ­­­2010. The program’s plans for the future include expanding services, made possible through a funding grant from the Province of Manitoba.

Along with their efforts to support community wellbeing and public health and safety as part of the HUB, many member agencies do important front-line work to support health and safety daily. Amid the current public health challenge of COVID-19, the members of this unit have continued to exhibit extraordinary courage and heroism.

This year’s Courage Award will be presented at a dinner hosted in honour of Community Mobilization Westman on Thursday, Oct. 22. Tickets to the Courage Award Dinner are available by contacting the college’s Foundation at foundation@assiniboine.net or by leaving a message at 204.725.8700 ext. 6323. Further details about the event will be shared at assiniboine.net/courage.