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Province provides $138,000 for local anti-poverty program

GUELPH -  Circles Guelph Wellington (Circles GW) was officially launched on Oct. 7.

 A unique initiative that “is creating relationships across economic boundaries,” officials state the program is “mobilizing communities to change the way they think and act about poverty.

Through the Local Poverty Reduction Fund, the province is investing up to $138,800 over three years to help the organization strengthen and evaluate its Circles program.

“With this funding County of Wellington Ontario Works will be able to evaluate its service delivery model and help us learn more about what approaches are making a difference for low-income individuals and families in communities across Ontario,” said deputy premier Deb Matthews, minister responsible for the poverty reduction strategy.

“We appreciate the Ontario Government’s efforts to support poverty reduction programs as we implement and evaluate our Circles Guelph Wellington Program,” said county Ontario Works employment services manager Ken Harvey.

The initiative, led by the County of Wellington, in partnership with Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, Hope House and the Wellington County Learning Centre, and supported by a Guiding Coalition (members from the community, agencies and organizations), recognizes that everyone has a role to play in poverty reduction.

“Circles Guelph Wellington is an excellent example of community education and community mobilization coming together to make a positive difference in the lives of those in poverty,” said Warden George Bridge.

“By investing in programs that help to develop relationships, skills and talents, we will build healthier families and stronger communities.”

Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie stated, “As a community, we aim to eradicate poverty and ensure everyone has the opportunity to thrive.

“I’m grateful the province is supporting Circles Guelph-Wellington, an innovative program that assists low-income people on their journey to self-sufficiency.”

Three innovative programs comprise Circles GW, officials state:

- Bridges out of Poverty educates people from the middle or upper classes about what it means to live in poverty;

- Getting Ahead is a program that helps people of low income learn about their own strengths and the resources available to them and;

- Circles brings people from both programs together, creating relationships across economic boundaries and helping people move from poverty to sustainability.

“This is a unique collaboration, where community members, agencies, organizations with various skills come together to support people who are living in poverty to help make positive changes in their lives,” stated the Stuart Beumer, the countys’ Ontario Works director in a press release.

“It (Circles GW) encourages those in poverty to explore goals, and to work toward those goals through relationship building that provides support in several ways including help with education, transportation and employment.”

The program is being adopted by other communities and is well established in Sarnia-Lambton County.

The launch, held at Innovation Guelph located at 111 Farquhar Street, highlighted the achievements of Circles GW including the first microcredit program in Guelph in partnership with Meridian Credit Union and Chalmers Community Services Centre.

For more information visit

November 27, 2015


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