A Welcoming Place To Be

Neighbourhood Week was a festival of the people and places that make Brantford, ON a great place to be. There were community conversations each day and I was able to visit with neighbourhood groups, and meet many passionate community builders. One of the vibrant places I visited was “A Place To Be.” It is the result of a partnership between the Brantford Public Library and a community building initiative called, Belonging Brant.

A Place To Be is in the bright atrium of the Brantford Library, clearly visible from busy Colborne Street. It is a community gathering space that is open every Thursday afternoon and like many other weeks, the room was full on the day I visited. I was greeted immediately by someone I had never met who welcomes me and introduced me to three other people. He showed me where there were drinks and some snacks. As I glanced around there were people drawing, reading the newspaper and most were simply talking to others. I was struck by the diverse group that had gathered and despite my expectation that one person was in charge, many took on roles of hospitality and leadership. They took it upon themselves to make introductions, check on newcomers, invite the curious folks on the periphery to join in, and check to see if anyone needs anything.

By the time I left, I had met many of the people in the room, received a gift of artwork, was given food for later, and received invitations to several other community events including a bike ride since someone discovered I like to ride a bike. The group is a treasure chest of gifts, hospitality, connection and definitely a place to be.

To learn more about A Place to Be and Belonging Brant check out their website: www.belongingbrant.com. There’ s so much to learn from their approach and work in community.

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