History of Station 20 West
The last grocery store on 20th Street closed in the 1990’s. Shortly after that CHEP Good Food Inc. carried out a community survey which found that residents still needed and wanted a store. Somewhat later, Quint Development Corporation organized a year-long consultation, which also identified a grocery store as one of the community’s top priorities, as well as employment opportunities and decent low-cost housing.
Consequently, CHEP and Quint joined together to try to bring a grocery store to the core neighbourhoods of Saskatoon. As they found little interest in either the co-op sector or the private sector, they decided to work with the community to organize a new neighbourhood co-operative. As work progressed more organizations were interested to co-locate with the store and with the support of the boards of both organizations, the idea expanded to that of a Community Development Enterprise Centre. This Centre would bring a number of agencies together to work with the community in a coordinated way, to reduce poverty and improve the lives of neighbourhood residents.
Saskatoon’s core neighbourhoods, have many strengths but also many challenges. A 2008 Saskatoon Health Region study found shocking disparities between these neighbourhoods and the rest of the city. Some of the disparities the study pinpointed are as follows: a much higher rate of heart disease, teen births, and mental disorders. Infant mortality was found to be four and one-half times higher and diabetes a shocking thirteen times higher than more affluent parts of the city. The study also found that such things as adequate income, employment opportunities, stable and affordable housing, access to nutritious food, and support for vulnerable young families had the greatest effect upon health, even more than access to physician services. The intent of the co-locating partners is to work with the community to bring about these positive changes.
Co-location and Intentional Program and Service Integration
Since the opening of Station 20 West in September of 2012, the Community Enterprise Centre (CEC) fosters community revitalization through the co-location of a variety of vital services and the intentional integration of programs. They work in partnership to provide services, sharing offices, resources and common office overhead costs. The overarching approach of all the Station 20 West partners is to involve community residents in their own development. It is a Hands-Up not a Hand-Out approach that seeks to address underlying causes of poverty and the social and economic determinants of health.
Social Enterprise Model
The CEC is a community economic development initiative that represents a sustainable approach to long term social and economic revitalization of the west side core neighbourhoods. The CEC is run as a social purpose business that aims for multiple bottom lines: financial sustainability, balanced with enhancement of social and environmental conditions. It operates on a not-for-profit basis, but uses business methods to provide much-needed services and amenities to the area.
Co-locators in the CEC include non-profit community organizations, and public institutions and cooperatives. The CEC and its co-locating organizations employ a community-based approach to provide services and amenities. In keeping with this approach, the CEC work in partnership with core neighbourhood residents to build community capacity and to improve the lives and well-being of individuals and families.