Cape Breton’s Northside community is challenged with some incredibly dark realities. According to CBRM’s Vital Signs Report, “CBRM’s youth population is under threat, as seen through relatively high levels of youth unemployment, crime, and out-migration.’’ Beyond this, our 2012 unemployment rate for youth 15-24 was 45.6% higher than the provincial rate and 85.3% higher than the national rate. In 2010, our child poverty rate for children under 18 years of age was 69.4% higher than the national rate. For those children under the age of 6, CBRM’s rate was more than twice the national average.
In spite of these challenging statistics, a tangible spirit of readiness to change the community can be felt on the Northside. Real change happens when we reach out with compassion and listen deeply and respectfully to those who have the courage to share their stories. Everyone has something to contribute, including those who are struggling. Together, we can shine a light on the lived experiences of the people here, and shift the story from an individual journey of poverty, loneliness, addiction, and homelessness, to a community effort for prosperity and health.
A huge amount of goodwill and community building energy is already here on the Northside. Neighbours help each other when they can. Organizations both inside and outside of the community collaborate with those working on the ground.
No one organization, sector or government department will be able to navigate out of this storm. With help and resources, the community can – and must – find its compass. Northside Rising represents that opportunity.
In March 2017, Inspiring Communities began working with the Northside community and the early dreams of Northside Rising came to life. Community CARES Youth Outreach, a local organization helping young people overcome adversity and achieve higher goals, was an early partner coordinating the various elements and collaborators involved in the initiative.
Over the summer of 2017, a team of four students from the Northside gathered input from community members to work towards a shared vision for moving forward via surveys, interviews, and community conversations.
On May 31st of 2018, Northside Rising held our first community meeting, officially “launching” the initiative by introducing our shared agenda and announcing some other exciting opportunities for Northsiders to get involved in right away, with our Rising Tide Projects.
The Northside Rising movement has just begun, but already we have hope for a brighter future!
Learn more about Northside Rising by reviewing our 2018 Community Report.
To learn more about our Rising Tide Projects, explore our North Sydney & Sydney Mines resources.