On May 9th, 2011 the full council of the City of London voted unanimously to affirm and adopt the principles set out in the Charter for Compassion and declare London a Compassionate City. The vote was the culmination of more than a year and half of discussions with former mayor Anne Marie DeCicco-Best, who expressed support of London becoming a Compassionate City when invited to participate in an inaugural city affirming event on November 19, 2009.
Since 2011, a number of City of London and community initiatives have furthered our goal of working to always be a Compassionate City for all. This was identified as a strategy in the City of London Strategic Plan for 2015 – 2019 and supports efforts to promote our community as diverse, inclusive, and welcoming.
Below is a list of City of London key accomplishments in 2015 that support and promote compassion in our community.
- Helped those in need get access to recreation programing- Provided $775,000 through the Play Your Way fund to low income residents to participate in Spectrum programs.
- Distributed approximately 80 free signs to businesses and property owners as part of the new Accessible Sign Campaign, to encourage adding more accessible parking spaces.
- Improved accessible parking space and signage in parks, arenas and community centres and installed Age Friendly benches in key locations.
- Launched New Pet Fostering Program – Program supports rescuing and fostering of over 300 dogs and 500 cats in 2015.
- Supported seniors in long term care by initiating a strategic planning and formal accreditation process to support service delivery for seniors at Dearness Home – to be completed by mid-2016
- Protected our environment by reaching a milestone goal of total reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (6% below 1990 levels)
- Supported compassionate and accessible social services through the continued implementation of the “Community Based Service Delivery Model” / Social Services Community Service initiative – August 2015 opening of Social Services office at South London Community Centre
- Launched the Mayor’s Advisory Panel on Poverty, which developed recommendations on what more we can do to address poverty in London. For more information and to view the report, please see: http://www.london.ca/city-hall/mayors-office/Pages/Mayor-Advisory-Panel-on-Poverty.aspx
Also, here is a list of other community-led initiatives that contribute to London being a Compassionate City:
- PovertyOVER Action Campaign led by the London Child & Youth Network (CYN). Building on the Mayor’s Advisory Panel on Poverty report, with the goal of ending poverty in London in one generation, the campaign offers tools and information to think differently about poverty and act to end it. For more information, visit
- Anti-Ageism Workshops, developed by the Respect & Social Inclusion Working Group of the Age Friendly London Network, educate people of all ages on how to identify ageist language, attitudes, and behaviours and how to be an advocate for older persons. The workshop is being presented in the community for people of all ages and in local high schools.
- London “Snow Angels” initiative matches people who need help shovelling snow on their driveway or property with “Snow Angel” volunteers in their neighbourhood who will shovel snow for them. For more information, visit http://snowangelslondon.ca/
- LUSO Community Services 1,000 Acts of Kindness campaign has continued. The 2015 campaign delivered over 3,000 donated items to locations across the city that do kindness all year round. The campaign organized a “Ripple Bus of Kindness” departed from LUSO and made 5 stops: My Sister’s Place Women’s Support Centre; Ark Aid Street Mission; Women’s Community House; The South London Neighbourhood Resource Centre; and Canadian Blood Services. Plans are currently underway for the 2016 campaign in October. For more information about the 1,000 Acts of Kindness Campaign, visit: http://1000acts.ca/
- Community efforts to welcome Syrian refugees. More than 800 government-assisted Syrian refugees are expected to arrive in London by the end of February 2016. Individuals and organizations have banded together to support incoming refugees, with efforts being led by the City of London Social Services and the London Cross Cultural Learning Centre, the City’s lead resettlement agency.
The United Way of London Middlesex has been providing assistance and recently started a fundraising drive for Syrian refugees. The London Free Press reports that Londoners donated more than $400,000 to a fund set up to help receive and welcome Syrians. Other agencies involved in efforts to sponsor and support incoming refugees include the London Muslim Mosque, North Park Community Church, Byron United Church, and other faith organizations, as well as London’s Muslim and business communities and volunteers from many different sectors.
- “Kindness Meters” – London community advocate Lincoln McCardle brought the idea of installing “kindness meters” to London City Council after he and his wife saw one in Ottawa’s Byward market. A “kindness meter” is a decommissioned parking meter that has been repurposed to collect change that is then donated to local charities.
London Free Press Article: http://www.lfpress.com/2015/11/26/can-you-spare-a-little-change--for-the-meter-and-the-needy
For more information, visit: https://www.facebook.com/KindnessMetersLdn
Strategic Plan available at: http://www.london.ca/city-hall/Civic-Administration/City-Management/Pages/Strategic-Planning.aspx