While still working to develop Drupal's social networking tools with the global Transition network, but have signed onto Ning for a year in the meantime. We have over 450 members on the VV site now, 6 working Villages, and hundreds of activities, and people are getting used to it all.
I just fronted the US$184 for a year of Ning, and am interested now in what grants or other financial assistance we can find to help with this and to develop supporting web features Ning cannot provide, such as a Time Bank, better community-based calendars, and more sophisticated discussion fora.
Most importantly, we are now finally registering as a society and will soon start the long path toward securing charitable status. For that initiative, we would love your advice or suggestions for resources.
Please just take this as a heads-up that I will call on you later this year, and hope we can someday help Spectrum in its amazing mission.
Rumours fly about Ning. They have not yet contacted me, and I think nothing is decided yet. They currently seem to have a lock on community groups like us, especially Transition Towns. There is a reason for this; the site is very well thought out (albeit not perfect).
If I find an extra 10 hours a week, I'd like to teach myself an open-source CMS, such as Drupal. Sadly, it would then take me then a year to recreate this site as it is, and probably not much better. Still, I am a fan of self-reliance, for just such reasons as this Ning rumour brings to us.
About Village forming, take your time and do it right. Attend other Village meetings to see what others are doing. In time, more people will help to make a critical mass in each neighbourhood to share the work. It is thankless at times to be a pioneer.
Spectrum is well known to me, and a great connection. Thank you for thinking about how we could work together. Communities, which are not inclusive of all, miss out on most.
If we can engage each of our new Villages (and possibly also a few Working Groups) to connect and work with the differently abled, we would vastly increase both our capacity to reach out and our awareness to reach right. Our community gardening group has a wheelchair-bound person who has opened all of our eyes to the meaning of mobility.
Think hard about how VV could include Spectrum's clients and work with you to engage people we would otherwise have trouble finding.
Renfrew-Collingwood does not have a local village formed yet, but your ranks are growing with now 5 Village Vancouver members in your area, including Aaron Johannes, Grant Watson, Kasza, and Sandra Scow. Meanwhile, come to any event posted on our Events page, connect with other Village Vancouver members, and see what you can learn and do.
Also, please update your home page ("My Page" above) with some brief comments about your interests or a short bio. This will help us all connect with people with similar interests in sustainability, transition, or other activities. Maybe find a nice photo to upload, too. :-)
Interested in participating in a VV garden? We have collaborative gardens/garden spaces in 5 neighbourhoods. Contact us at email@example.com. Gardening now in progress. New gardeners welcome (space allowing).