The success of the Your Durham campaign during September 2022, helped reinforce both the region’s dedication to building community connections and the power of using technology to spark engagement.
During the campaign, Your Durham saw a 14.3% engagement rate, doubling the targets set for participation, a testament to the importance of conversation around issues impacting Indigenous communities, Burgess said.
“We have built community connection through this engagement page,” she added. “Durham Region is committed to reconciliation. It is only when we take steps and embrace reconciliation in our hearts, minds and actions that we can create space for healing and understanding.”
Burgess said that Your Durham will only continue to grow as a resource for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation efforts, with a goal of increasing the subscriber list and continually connecting with the community around these issues.
“We want to be a community partner as we move along our pathway to reconciliation,” she said.
Your Durham will also be a cornerstone to other development issues in the region, as a support tool for region’s five-year strategic development plan. The platform has served as a critical component of an omnichannel engagement approach, including in-person activities and focus groups. In one instance, residents participated in virtual surveys through Your Durham, reaching approximately 2,000 residents.
The platform has also recently been used on the region’s non-police led mental health crisis response initiative, exploring a 24/7 mobile mental health crisis response program that empowers mental health professionals to lead the response. Through Your Durham, more than 1,400 community members provided feedback.
“The learnings and community built from these projects will allow us to expand our reach in the community and hopefully reach more people,” Burgess said. “This platform allowed community members who may not have been able to participate in more traditional methods of engagement to still be part of the conversation.”
More importantly, Burgess said that digital engagement will establish itself as a critical tool in connecting with the community, alongside town halls and telephone surveys.
“Community engagement is a key driver in advancing user-centered design approaches when developing Regional policies, programs and services,” she said. “We recognize that residents are not always able to engage with us using traditional channels as irregular work schedules and childcare can be barriers to in-person engagement. For community engagement to be inclusive, we recognize that it must adopt innovative technologies to meet the various needs of our community and provide multiple channels of engagement opportunities.”