When the Regent Park neighbourhood crops up in the headlines, it’s often portrayed as a stereotypical inner city neighbourhood, with all the social ills that can entail. What is less often mentioned is the hard work by area residents who are trying to bring about positive change. Their work and commitment has built a strong sense of community, which thrives even as the massive revitalization project chugs along. It was precisely this sense of unity and desire to make improvements for the community that attracted CSI to the location.
“Once we spent a little bit of time in Regent Park, we were inspired and engaged by the vibrancy of the local community,” says Tonya Surman, chief executive officer of CSI. “It became incredibly clear that this was a exciting opportunity that we wanted to be a part of.”
Since their inception in 2004, CSI has provided shared office facilities to organizations with a social mission. Their 800 members enjoy benefits like affordable office , meeting and event space, access to shared services and technical support.
But perhaps an even more important part of the CSI model is an emphasis on community, which includes shared common rooms like a large kitchen and open work areas. CSI is host to hundreds of events each year, such as skills-building workshops, lectures, conferences, discussions and networking socials. All members have a profile on CSI’s intranet, which allows them to connect and to promote their own events, news and job openings in the organization’s newsletter and website.