Local communities are essential to human wellbeing as they provide a sense of place and belonging. Coastal rural Newfoundland and Labrador faces an array of challenges spanning from the impact of climate change over food insecurity to changing demographics and urbanization. Place-based social enterprises have the unique potential to overcome some of these challenges and provide opportunities to revitalize communities. As such, place-based social enterprises are vehicles for the development of sustainable communities. Social enterprises not only strengthen communities but provide local solutions to (global) challenges. One such community-based social enterprise is the Old Cottage Hospital in Norris Point. With a love for and commitment to place, the Old Cottage Hospital has become a community hub of initiatives that revitalize the community and celebrate Newfoundland and Labrador’s history and culture. Among the Old Cottage Hospital’s many initiatives is a commitment to develop strong bonds with community-based researchers. Building positive, long-lasting relationships with community leaders and entrepreneurs is key to this project. As part of the Community Scholar placement, we will deliver Community Opportunity Workshops in Norris Point and in Port au Choix, where the Old Cottage Hospital is establishing a sister organization.
Developing long-standing relationships with place-based social enterprises across the province is what led our team to develop the PLACE Framework. The PLACE Framework captures revitalization efforts among social enterprises in Newfoundland and Labrador, through five distinct strategies: P: Promote community leaders; L: Link divergent perspectives; A: Amplify local capacities; C: Convey compelling stories; and E: Engage both/and thinking. Based on the PLACE Framework, we have, alongside our research partners and advisory committee been delivering a series of workshops titled the PLACE Dialogues. The PLACE Dialogues are designed to directly contribute to sustainable rural development through knowledge sharing and network building. The first dialogue took place on Fogo Island in 2018. This year, the Old Cottage Hospital is hosting the fifth PLACE Dialogue (Oct. 13–15) to bring community leaders, entrepreneurs, policy makers and academics together from across the province to discuss how social enterprises can revitalize rural communities.
Norris Point, NL