Turning the Tide
Digby, Nova Scotia
Turning the Tide — the Journey so far…
The Digby area consists of many unique communities forming a wonderfully diverse geographic and demographic area. From the Town of Digby and coastal communities on St. Mary’s Bay, Digby Neck and the Islands, to inland villages such as Bear River and Weymouth, each community has its own identity and strengths. The area is well known for its natural beauty and resources, most notably, for the famous Digby scallops!
Despite the many strengths in these communities, the Digby area is struggling. Compared to the rest of Nova Scotia and Canada as a whole, people here are experiencing higher than average rates of poverty, housing insecurity, poor academic achievement and a history of racial discord and discrimination. People in this area rely heavily on seasonal and insecure employment and many experience difficulties with transportation. The community has also had a difficult time attracting and retaining health care professionals. These circumstances lead to many young people leaving the community to obtain employment.
The spirit of community in the Digby area is a strength that can be built upon to create positive change. Turning the Tide will help residents to create a shared vision for change. By supporting residents, community organizations and all levels of government, we will find solutions to complex issues – the shared vision (or Common Agenda) will be determined by the community.
Turning the Tide developed as Inspiring Communities’ third Collective Impact site in Nova Scotia in 2018. Initially known as Inspiring Communities Digby, we began with an Insight Team which grew from 6 to 20 team members, from a range of organizations and community-based groups in May 2018.
In mid-2019, to create our own identity, we conducted a naming contest and received many, varied suggestions from the community. The winning entry was revealed at a June 2019 community barbecue: Turning the Tide. A local graphic designer suggested the name and developed the logo.
Early efforts of our work have focused on three phases of community consultation:
- A Community Survey: 27 local Research Assistants helped survey over 800 people who reported on what good things were happening in their community, and what worries them.
- Community Consultation Session: The survey findings were explored in consultation with community members who helped narrow themes into three priority issues. It was recommended to seek further input from people in the many smaller micro-communities throughout the Digby area.
- World Cafés: 12 Community Ambassadors hosted a series of 14 World Café-style community conversations in 12 communities across the area. These events helped to better understand how the three priority issues show up in individual communities.
At the end of 2019 the Insight Team approved a new structure for the initiative.
The Turning the Tide Collaborative Framework centres the initiative in the community, and includes an Advisory Group who provides oversight and guides implementation of the work.
Our Theme Teams focus on the three priority issues: Employment & Economy, Environment, and Health Care. The Turning the Tide Backbone staff provides support to both the Advisory Group and the Theme Teams in community.