Social Summit to reduce loneliness, promote inclusion

The Social Summit is a first-time event and hopes to attract community leaders, innovators and change agents from across the entire province to attend the summit, which has a theme of From Isolation to Connection. The summit is scheduled for December 9 to 10, 2019. Supplied

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The inaugural Social Summit event coming this December hopes to help you feel more included in the community.

The first-time event slotted for Dec. 9-10 at the Community Centre is looking to attract community leaders, innovators and change agents from across the entire province to attend the summit, which has a theme of From Isolation to Connection.

“The idea has been rumbling around since the beginning of the social framework, so since back in 2017, and in the 2019 budget our council approved supporting this initiative and we are able to proceed with our first summit in 2019,” explained Bree Claude, director of Family and Community Services at Strathcona County. “The exciting thing about this summit is that it is an opportunity for us to take action on the outcome of connectedness and inclusion.”

The two-day conference will have participants explore how to inspire a community-authored approach to building connections and overall feelings of inclusion. The event falls under Strathcona County’s Social Framework that aims to promote connectedness and inclusion.

“We really feel this conference is for everyone and it is intended to create a space for community practitioners, innovators and change agents to think and learn about loneliness and social isolation,” Claude said. “We know social isolation is emerging as a public health crisis at the root cause of our society’s most challenging problems.”

The event will feature a number of speakers, including Dr. Timothy Caulfield, known for his Netflix series “A User’s Guide to Cheating Death.” Caulfield is also the Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy, he’s a professor at the University of Alberta Faculty of Law and School of Public Health and holds the position of Research Director of the Health Law Institute.

Dr. Jody Carrington, author of Kids These Days will also be speaking at the conference, as well as Cheryl Strayed, the author of Wild and Tiny Beautiful Things.

The conference aims to develop plans and supports to tackle the problem of loneliness and social isolation in Strathcona County, which Claude said is an emerging public health problem on par with smoking and obesity. The county said a society that is becoming more and more digital is also presenting new issues related to social isolation and loneliness.

“When we address connection and inclusion we are also taking action on safety, addictions, mental health, and other areas by focusing on the root issues of connection and inclusion,” she said.

Steps in addressing these issues are the strongest steps to reducing poverty, addiction, reducing crime and improving relationships, according to Claude.

Attendees will learn research-supported insights into these issues and can use the information to create spaces, groups and other supports to connect to other residents.

Tickets to the event are priced at $250 for early birds and $325 for those who buy after Oct. 1. You can purchase tickets by clicking the link at Registration for those interested closes Dec. 2.