Guest post written by Kathryn Norman, Sustainable Eastern Ontario.
Although many were sad to see the West End Well café and grocery store close its doors in September 2015, the lines that often stretch out in front of 969 Wellington St. W. indicate that at least people are happy SuzyQ Donuts has moved into the first floor!
What many people don’t realize is that the second floor of the building is also a bustling hub of activity, albeit of a different kind. While the West End Well Co-op maintains and rents out some of the space for workshops and events, the main tenant of the second floor is the Sustainable Capacity Centre.
What is the Sustainable Capacity Centre (SCC)?
It’s the Ottawa office and one of the main projects of Sustainable Eastern Ontario (SEO), a non-profit that works with local environmental and sustainability groups to foster cooperation and collaboration, and help smaller groups build their capacity so they can focus on the important work that their staff and volunteers are passionate about.
Anyone interested in sustainability in the Ottawa area (and if you’re reading this blog odds are that’s you!) has probably heard of the Ottawa Renewable Energy Cooperative, the Ottawa Eco-Talent Network, SumOfUs, BioRegional or Goodwork. Maybe you’ve even been to one of the regular networking meetings SEO hosts or worked with some of our collaborators like Ecology Ottawa, Maison Tucker House or PERC. What all of these groups have in common, as well as many others, is that they take advantage of at least one of the services provided by SEO at the Sustainable Capacity Centre. Some rent full-time office space at the Centre, some use the capacity services and some just take advantage of the broad and dynamic network that SEO brings together through networking events, social media and other avenues.
Sustainable Eastern Ontario provides many free services to local sustainability groups, but even the fee-based services are highly accessible to groups that work on a tight budget, thanks to capacity grants that can be used to cover the cost of certain services like bookkeeping that are available to non-profit members of the network. More information about these services and grants, as well as upcoming events, can be found at www.SustainableEasternOntario.ca.
All of this is great news for non-profits, green businesses and other sustainability groups, but what about the average Ottawan? Well, SEO has something to offer you as well. Some of our workspace gets rented out to students and freelancers who just need a place with wifi and coffee to get some work done and like being surrounded by green-minded folks, and meeting rooms are available to rent through both SEO and the West End Well Co-op. Thanks to our wide local networks in the environmental sector, which are both well-established and dynamically growing, we’re also a great place to start if you’ve got an idea or an urge to work on a particular topic and need to be pointed in the right direction.
To find out how the SCC and its services can benefit you or your organization, get in touch! Email firstname.lastname@example.org and see where the conversation goes.