›› Kelsey Singbeil and Alieda Blandford

Over the last few years, the distance between 1923 Fernwood Road and 1240 Gladstone Avenue has become shorter and shorter. While the buildings may not have actually moved closer together, the organizations that call them home, the Fernwood Community Association (FCA) and Fernwood Neighbourhood Resource Group (Fernwood NRG) have bridged the gap and are collaborating on a growing number of ­initiatives for the betterment of Fernwood.

The two organizations are both dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in Fernwood through engaging with the neighbourhood; it makes sense to work together! The FCA is now leasing office space on the second floor of 1921 Fernwood Road to the Fernwood NRG’s staff, which frees up critical program space at the Fernwood Community Centre for in-person programming like Best Babies and family drop-in classes.

Sharing space is a critical collaboration point, as commercial and rentable space in Fernwood for community programs is in short supply.

Both organizations are also working to cross-promote events and activities, like the upcoming FernFest on June 24 and 25 (with concerts planned in the Paul ­Phillips Hall a.k.a. “Little Fernwood”), and ­ongoing exhibitions in the Little Fernwood Gallery. The FCA’s Land Use Committee is working hard to engage the ­community with the draft Fernwood Neighbourhood Plan (check it out if you’d like to help shape the future of Fernwood!), as well as hosting neighbourhood “development walk’n’talks”.

The future is bright for the two organizations working together. Our collective interest in food security will likely bear fruit (the FCA operates two ­community ­allotment gardens in Fernwood, and Fernwood NRG manages a community orchard, garden at the community ­centre, and programming like the Good Food Box). We’re also both passionate about making Fernwood a welcoming place for everybody, and holding space for discussion about rental housing, affordability, and livability.

Together, our assets include several large community-focused buildings, childcare programs, strong connections to local arts and culture organizations, and more. Most importantly, the boards and volunteers for both organizations are dedicated to ­supporting Fernwood’s people and places and building connections that bring us all closer together. Cheers!