Henry County headquarters in Cambridge, Ill. Will work to transform with a new national grant.
In August, Community Heart & Soul announced that the village of Cambridge was among the first recipients of its national seed grant of $ 10,000. This grant and program offers the potential to transform the community through Community Heart & Soul, a resident-focused community development process that leads to increased local pride, more viable economic development projects, and stronger community ties. solid, according to a Tuesday release.
On Saturday 9 October the group will make its public launch in conjunction with the 31 Cambridge United Methodist Churchst Annual fall review. From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Cambridge Community Heart & Soul volunteers will be at the entrance to Cambridge Community Hall, located at 125 N. East St., to hear firsthand from residents why they love where they live and their hopes. for the future of the region. This will be the first of many community storytelling exercises.
“I’m really excited to see what the Community Heart & Soul program can do for Cambridge,” said village administrator Steve Brown. “I know from talking to residents that the desire to rejuvenate and develop our city is strong and many are ready to be a part of it. Helping Cambridge to grow to meet all the needs of the community is something we will all be proud of. “
During the project, which is expected to take 18 months, the group will try to reach every resident of the Cambridge community to collect their stories. In those stories, common themes of what residents love the most about the area and their hopes for the future are expected to emerge, the statement said. These themes will then become the foundation for decision making and serve to create a long term vision for the future of the community.
Mike Wignall, the project coordinator, said that “volunteering for the Cambridge Community Heart & Soul project is one of the best decisions I’ve made. We are making a difference in Cambridge, Ill. And the changes will come from the residents of the community, all of them. “
In addition to Cambridge, Community Heart & Soul awarded its first three seed grants of $ 10,000 to Akron and Westfield, Iowa; and Winchendon, Mass. The Community Heart & Soul Seed Grant Program funds groups led by residents of small towns and villages who work to revitalize their communities by undertaking the Community Heart & Soul process.
Winners provide matching funds and work with Heart & Soul coaches to initiate community development efforts using the Community Heart & Soul process.
“Small towns and villages have the opportunity to emerge from the pandemic with a brighter and more prosperous future,” Mark Sherman, executive director of Community Heart & Soul, said in August. “Our seed grants are accelerating the adoption of Community Heart & Soul so more communities can use the proven model now, when it’s needed most. “
The towns of Akron and Westfield are supporting the use of Community Heart & Soul throughout the Akron-Westfield Community School District in Northwest Iowa. “During the pandemic, a lot of people realized how much we have it here. New businesses are opening up and our community is excited to build on the positive momentum through the Community Heart & Soul process, ”said Lisa Harris, Akron resident.
The village of Cambridge was beginning to embark on a community planning effort when it founded the Community Heart & Soul Seed Grant Program. Now was the perfect time to use the model to guide their efforts. “The pandemic has amplified the need for community involvement to revitalize the region,” said John Taylor, a member of the village’s board of directors.
Interested parties are encouraged to follow the Cambridge Community Heart & Soul pages on Facebook and Instagram for more information on the project, how to join the effort, and future activities and events.
For more information, visit communityheartandsoul.org.