At the November 28 meeting of County Council, Warden Bob Sweet presented Shawna Babcock, Chair of the Physical Activity Network - Renfrew County (PAN-RC) with the 2012 Warden’s Community Service Award – Not-for-Profit.
In the presentation, CAO Jim Hutton and Warden Sweet recognized PAN-RC as an innovative and dedicated group of multi-sector organizations and community champions working together to support increased opportunities for improved health, well-being and a higher quality of life for every resident and visitor of Renfrew County.
As a collaborative, PAN-RC shares resources, co-ordinates action, focuses on priority areas that enhance community spaces, and improve access to inclusive physical activity programs. Supportive built environments (such as roads, trails, paths, hallways, parks, public spaces), natural spaces and healthy policies provide opportunities for improved health equity, social cohesion, economic development and community engagement.
PAN-RC was founded in 2008, and has a growing membership of more than 150 organizations and individuals. It is comprised of a very diverse group of committed community members -- many in a volunteer capacity -- contributing considerable time and expertise to making our communities better. These members share a passion for the communities where they live, work and play, with a common goal of improving the health, well-being and quality of life for everyone. Abundant natural spaces, diverse cultural heritage, unique partnership opportunities, and an inherent collaborative nature make up the distinct quality of life that’s so valued in Renfrew County. PAN-RC recognizes this and is working hard to make it accessible to everyone.
The Physical Activity Network has co-ordinated knowledge sharing and community engagement events across Renfrew County, reaching more than 500 organizations and community members. National and internationally acclaimed speakers have provided their insights and expertise to support this collective work. Contributors include Gil Penalosa (8-80 Cities), Dr. Andrew Pipe (University of Ottawa Heart Institute), Professor Catherine O’Brien, and Eleanor MacMahon (Share the Road). Local, regional, provincial and national partnerships have contributed to the Network¹s expertise, reach and impact. Canada Walks, Share the Road and the Heart and Stroke Foundation are just a few of many that support PAN-RC’s work through strong partnerships.
Since 2008, PAN-RC has successfully received funding to focus on priority areas from the Ministry of Health Promotion, Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Renfrew County Community Futures Development Corporation and the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Funded projects have increased opportunities for physical activity in the built and natural environments where we live and play, supported active transportation, accessibility, and sustainable strategic planning. “These investments have been invaluable in building PAN-RC into the strong collaborative network of community stakeholders being recognized by this important award. Our integrated approach to health is developing into a promising model.” says Shawna Babcock, PAN-RC Chair.
Over the past year, PAN-RC has worked with the County of Renfrew to develop an Active Transportation Strategy. As contributors, the PAN-RC working groups – made up of volunteers and cross sector organizations from across Renfrew County -- are building safer, stronger and more active communities for everyone.
In the process, PAN-RC’s leading-edge collaborative work, its focus on the social determinants of health, and its effective approach to community engagement has lead to the development of the Healthy Community Partnership (HCP) in Renfrew County. The HCP builds on the PAN-RC mandate to help shape and develop multi-sector policies that will improve the health, well-being and quality of life for everyone who lives, works and plays in Renfrew County.