Over 60 people participated in the Money Matters Community Collaborative: Design Day event on May 27, 2014 at the Victoria Park Pavilion. Participants included community members and representatives from credit unions, banks, regional government, bankruptcy trustees, social service agencies, and community organizations.
CBC journalist Maureen Brosnahan started the event off by sharing pre-recorded interviews - allowing the experience of community members who are living on a low-income to contextualize the day's conversation with their own words.
Much of our work together was in small groups of diverse participants. Conversation ranged to include timely, relevant topics including: challenges people living on a low income face when managing their finances in Waterloo Region, products and services that would help to address these challenges, resources needed to develop these products and services, and resources participating individuals and organizations were able to offer.
Engagement was high throughout the morning, and participants expressed in their feedback that they appreciated the opportunity to deepen their own understanding of financial inclusion, broaden regional discussion around this concept, and bring this conversation back to their workplaces.
Many participants expressed a desire for more collaboration and integration between service providers. Frontline staff from several agencies committed to engage in an ongoing working group on the products and services that were designed on the day, including an intake toolkit for budgeting and financial inclusion.
A socially responsible loaning model was discussed as an alternative to payday lenders, and in the weeks following Design Day work on this project has gained momentum.
The conversation around financial inclusion which we are leading in K-W is relevant across Canada. CBC's Maureen Brosnahan - whose report about the day’s discussions and activities was published on the CBC website and broadcast on The World This Weekend - helped to bring this conversation to other communities.