Northside Rising

Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

We create supports, connections, and pathways for Northsiders to be changemakers for a more hopeful, healthy and just community.  NORTHSIDE RISING BELIEVES IN... ...INVESTING IN NORTHSIDERS.   The Northside is a community of changemakers who care  about the Northside and have the collective capacity to  bring about positive change. We create supportive social  infrastructure: the facilitation, relationships, networks,  and programs that empower Northsiders. ...WORKING AND LEARNING TOGETHER.  A long period of community decline has weakened our sense  of hope and agency creating instead a widespread mindset  of scarcity and survival. We cultivate a culture of mutual  support, which feeds our collective capacity to be creative,  try new things, address complex issues, and learn together  as we go. ...THE POWER OF HOPE.  In order for positive change to happen, people must have  hope and agency: the sense that they have what it takes  to achieve their goals. At a community level, hope has  the potential to be the foundation of change. We support  Northsiders in telling their stories and in writing new  chapters grounded in hope and agency. ...ACTION.   We take action on issues and opportunities the community  cares about in a way that builds the conditions for change.  We mobilize community by working differently with  stakeholders, from community members to organizations  to government; listening, opening dialogue, inviting  diverse voices, making connections, and creating strong  relationships that foster individual and collective well-being  and systemic change.



What is a Safe Space?  A safe space is an environment which allows everyone who accesses it to feel comfortable expressing themselves and participating fully without fear of attack, ridicule or denial of experience. Emerging from our earlier work with substance use and people with lived experience, Northside Rising has identified the need to support more safe spaces in our communities.


The effects of the pandemic have taken a toll on most people in our community and Open Space aims to create access to arts and wellness by providing opportunities for people to gather and try something new. The OPEN SPACE Mobile Arts Centre offers free accessible arts programming and healthy food in pop up spaces around North Sydney, Florence and Sydney Mines. Watch our Instagram (feed below) to learn where we will be next!


Back in 2018, we began our work with a community survey, which helped us determine priority issues for Northsiders. This process surfaced our focus on Substance Use as a starting point.  In 2020, we launched Invictus, a research initiative exploring the state of hope on the Northside, and informing our efforts to strengthen the community’s capacity to shape its own future. We encourage groups around Sydney Mines, Florence and North Sydney to access this information and engage in their own sensemaking activities around hope and agency.


We are facilitating a forum for diverse and passionate stakeholders to engage in joint analysis of issues and opportunities on the Northside, increase collaborative community leadership, build a network of changemakers,  and elevate lived experience as a vital way of knowing.


Initially a COVID-19 response effort, the Coffee House is a conversation space where the Northside Rising team meets virtually with members of the community to discuss rich themes of community life in a “live” format, where  the public can participate via Facebook stream or Zoom.  The Coffee House is a unique and inviting space that gets below the surface on things that matter to the community.


Northside Rising Instagram


Northside Rising looks forward to sharing new initiatives as this framework takes flight! Join our mailing list to stay in the loop.

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