Shared Learning Local Hub (SLLH) sessions are held in 5 areas across Niagara, for front- line community service and outreach workers to:

  • Connect for shared learning;
  • Share ideas and best practice information to enable client success; and
  • Strengthen relationships concerning clients’ access to services and benefits.

SLLH sessions grew out of work of the Rowing the Boat Together I and II projects (2012 – 2015), facilitated by Niagara Connects, to support the Niagara Poverty Reduction Network focus on inter-agency collaboration.  The Building a Model for Inter-Agency Collaboration in the Niagara region of Ontario report summarizes the SLLH construction process. It describes a practical tool for summarizing common themes arising from ‘burning issues’ discussions among front-line service workers.  Download a 2-page summary of steps taken to build the model, or the full report.

In 2016, a total of 12 SLLH Sessions were hosted in the 5 locations across Niagara. An average of 19 people from 13 different agencies participated in each session. Common ‘burning issues’ discussed point to 3 top themes:

  1. Housing affordability and availability. (In 2015, this was also the number 1 issue identified.)
  2. Transportation limitations and affordability. (In 2015, access to affordable transportation was the number 3 issue identified.)
  3. Mental health and addictions, including suicide prevention and overdose training. (In 2015, long waitlists for mental health and other services was in the top 10 issues identified.)

Other burning issues raised in 2016 included dental health, compassion fatigue, legal aid, volunteer recruitment, and waitlists for developmental services.  Download the 2-page SLLH Sessions around Niagara 2016 Discussion Themes document.

Front-line community service and outreach workers report that SLLH Sessions around Niagara are useful for networking to strengthen inter-agency relationships. This leads to improved satisfaction with their own work, due to strengthened ability to connect clients with services. Opportunities to learn about other programs, agencies, and resources available improve their own ability to serve their clients and provide referrals.

Niagara Connects acts as Backbone Support, within a Collective Impact approach, to facilitate Niagara-wide coordination among SLLH Leaders; gather and analyze annual Niagara-wide themes arising from ‘burning issues’ discussed at SLLH sessions; raise awareness about opportunities to participate in SLLH Sessions; and share SLLH Session activities on the Niagara Knowledge Exchange (NKE), at:

Please reach out to us if you’d like to learn more, or share your thoughts about this made-in-Niagara model for inter-agency collaboration that focuses on client success.

Mary Wiley
Executive Director, Niagara Connects

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