Welcome Centre and WMN update

Great to see some old and some new faces on Monday at the WMN advisory board meeting…. Some good discussion – and cake! after we issued the WMN Bulletin January 2017 with updates on staff, new programs, upcoming events, and our plans for spring.

Here’s what we talked about:

Whistler Welcome Centre

We have now put everything under one name, one contact place and hope this will be easier for everyone to fund out about the services and programs they are interested in. We have one-stop for information, contact and registration. You can now contact the Welcome Centre:

  • Face-to-face at a drop-in: Monday afternoon 3-6pm and Friday morning 9.30-12.
  • By telephone on: 604.698.5960
  • By email at: info@welcomewhistler.com
  • On Facebook at: Whistler Welcome Centre, where you can find important information about settlement and immigration changes and updates
  • On the web at www.welcomewhistler.com

The Whistler Multicultural Network is still a key partner in the Welcome Centre with the Whistler Public Library, Capilano University, and Sea to Sky Community Services. The Welcome Centre also provides partners and other organizations with a way/place to offer welcoming and educational programming. Recently, we have added the FACES program to Welcome Centre programming – a family literacy program where parents and children ‘do it together, learn it together’. And we are now able to offer more one-to-one tutors for ESL and other learning/language needs with new funding to train more tutors.

This change will allow the WMN to focus on the annual Festival and to develop and find funding for other activities/programs that can then be delivered through the Welcome Centre. Our website is now merged with the PMN and we have simplified the content to make it easier to get around. WMN is still the organization people will come to for information about life in Whistler – the Welcome Centre website is the WMN website! And now the WMN facebook group can be more focused on our local members and keeping them in touch, while the Welcome Centre page is there for more official information and support.

Check out the full details of what we offer through the Welcome Centre.

2017 Multicultural Festival

In 2016, we received funds from multiple places to fund the Festival: from Immigration Canada, and the Resort Municipality of Whistler supported our first year of offering our own multicultural food. In 2017, while the WMN has enough money in the bank to cover the cost of a Festival this year, we need to learn how to generate enough income from one Festival to cover the next year’s costs. This may be through funding applications, sponsorship and/or revenue from food at the Festival.

For the 2017 Festival we have currently two applications for money we are waiting to hear about:

Canadian Heritage: we have applied for  $5750 to cover

  • an internship for an immigrant to support the Festival management
  • management and technical support on the day
  • supplies for performers and activities
  • sound system and equipment rental
  • volunteer materials
  • food supplies and equipment

Welcome BC funds applied for  $5000 to cover

  • additional staffing costs pre- and during the event and some volunteer honoraria
  • commercial kitchen rental and food costs for multicultural food offering
  • photographer and supplies to generate an ongoing cultural display in the Welcome Centre in the library

We agreed that we should meet again to talk about

  • how we can create a more sustainable funding model for the Festival
  • developing local sponsorships
  • 2017 Festival planning

Building the WMN voice in Whistler, and our finances

  • Funding is being reduced for settlement services by the federal government – less money every year.
  • Festival funding is changing – it may become more difficult for us to apply for money from the federal government and other organizations if we remain a non-incorporated community group. Right now, we have to find a partner who will support our application if it is to an organization who requires a charity. This is how we were able to get funding from the Resort Municipality of Whistler and the Community Foundation of Whistler for the multicultural community kitchens last year.
  • If we don’t continue to apply for funding as the WMN in partnership with these partners, we will not have the money to continue developing programs (e.g. community kitchens)
  • With core funding going down, it is important – if we want to keep the Welcome Centre programs going – that the WMN develops its ability to apply for our own funding for programs – so we don’t rely too much on partners (who are making their own applications)
  • The WMN can afford to run the  Multicultural Festival without grants but only for two years at current rate. But if we use the money we have in the bank, we cannot support any other programs.
  • Finding sponsors may be important for the future.
  • More ideas for programming means we can request more grants.

The group discussed whether there is interest in developing the Whistler Multicultural Network into a more formal non-profit organization so that we can be more directly qualified to apply for, and access, more money. All agreed that we should start having more regular meetings of the Advisory Board again, and through those explore how we want to develop the Whistler Multicultural Network and the Festival.

Monday afternoon from 5.30-7pm was agreed as a good time for these meetings. The next meeting will be on Monday February 27 at 5.30 – in the Welcome Centre at the library. We’ll send round a reminder, but why not mark the date now!