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Affirmed Cities

Sooke, BC, Canada

Compassion is concern for the suffering of others.  It requires empathy and understanding rather than pity and judgement.  Compassion is often the motivation for acts of caring and kindness.

The Charter for Compassion invites communities of all sizes to encourage and reinforce compassionate action in practical, specific ways to address troubling issues. These issues are often deep-rooted and persistent.  Much good work is already underway to reduce the resultant harm to affected individuals and households. The development of a Compassionate Action Plan (CAP) by a diverse and inclusive coalition of caring individuals and groups in our community is intended to help Sooke to become a more fully Compassionate Community.

The Sooke Multi-Belief Initiative, a spiritually-oriented group concerned with social issues, took two years to develop the Sooke Compassionate Action Plan.  Three workshops were held (March 2017, October 2018 and March 2019)  to receive the views, learnings and insights of community, service groups, agencies and concerned citizens on the areas requiring further compassionate action as well as which actions to take in the short- and longer-term.  These well-attended workshops were open to the public.  The areas of focus identified through this consultative process were: homelessness, affordability (especially housing, food, daycare), social isolation (seniors, youth, mentally ill, homeless), the need for improved health services and the need for improved awareness/communication/collaboration.  These areas of focus are intertwined.  For example, homelessness is linked to affordability challenges, social isolation and often stems from mental illness and addiction. The service groups and government agencies agreed on the importance of better communication and collaboration to effectively address these challenges within our community.

The Sooke Multi-Belief Initiative recognizes that much good work is already underway.  There has been recent progress in providing a extreme weather shelter for our homeless residents, more affordable and subsidized housing is becoming available and the funding for a “whole person” health clinic has been announced.  The local and provincial governments participated in the workshops.  The Councillors of the District of Sooke unanimously endorsed the Sooke Compassionate Action Plan and the recognition of Sooke as a Compassionate Community at  a meeting on May 13, 2019.    It is hoped that the plan will be an appendix to the new five year Official Community Plan for the District of Sooke.    

We understand that a community compassionate action plan is a living document which must be revised as community needs change or new compassionate actions are included.  We look forward to implementation and monitoring of the Sooke Compassionate Action  Plan.

Sooke is a rapidly growing town of 14,000 people located near the southern tip of Vancouver Island.  Formerly a logging and fishing community, it is now a bedroom community for the city of Victoria, a retirement centre and a seasonal tourist destination.  Although Sooke used to be an inexpensive place to live in the Greater Victoria area, it has become less affordable over the last decade so that many residents face financial challenges.

Read Sooke's Compassionate Action Plan - Year One Report

Read Annex 1 to Sooke's Compassionate Action Plan



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