Evaluating Community Hubs as Social Networking Sites
This summer I asked recent immigrants whether they felt their local community hub helped them build their social network. The answer was an overwhelming yes.
They identified the hub as a meeting place for people of all ages who came from diverse backgrounds. All participants felt welcome at the hub and felt the hub supported them in building their social networks, as all participants said they had met new people they did not previously know. They all said that the hub made it easy to meet new people and said they had made new friends through the use of hub services and programs. One participant stated that the people she met at the hub were closer friends than the ones she had in her native country. This same participant stated she is alone when at home, but has many people to interact with at the hub.
While most of the participants said they do not view Scarborough as home, they all said that the hub helped them in their settlement to the Scarborough community. These ladies wished they could spend more time at the hub but faced challenges due to familial obligations (such as helping with the care of grandchildren) and transportation difficulties.
There were suggestions of networking with other hubs and that a transportation service would increase their involvement in hub programs. All participants said the hub provided good services and the hub was very receptive to their feedback and sought the involvement of users to improve their program delivery.
Community hubs are meeting places. They provides a focal point for people with similar interests to connect and collaborate, fostering social networks that improve the quality of life in the community where the hub is located. The services provided by each hub are catered to the needs of the neighbourhood it is located in and the diverse population it is providing services for. Beyond offering programs and meeting local needs, they act as spaces for users to connect with others and develop friendships.
As a Master’s student in Ryerson’s Public Administration program, Jasmine Dunston did a research placement this summer with WoodGreen through the RBC Immigrant, Diversity & Inclusion Project. To see the longer community report, see WoodGreen’s publications page.