QCGN launches new community development website

                     Community, Commitment, Cooperation
                 Celebrating our Past, Building our Future.

MONTREAL, Sept. 22 /CNW Telbec/ - A new collaborative website, launched by the Quebec Community Groups Network, is designed to become an indispensable, internet-based tool for community organizers and institutions in English-speaking Quebec.

"QUESCAN - the Quebec English-speaking Community Action Network, located at www.quescan.info - will be the place where individuals, community groups, government and university partners learn about and contribute to the vitality of English-speaking Quebec," commented Robert Donnelly, President of the Quebec Community Groups Network which launched the new site at its annual convention in Gatineau on September 11th.

QCGN members, who were in Gatineau for their Annual General Meeting, are celebrating the 15th anniversary of the Network this year. Members of the QCGN held their annual convention in the National Capital Region as part of festivities surrounding the 40th anniversary of the Official Languages Act.

Robert Donnelly said QUESCAN (pronounced Q-SCAN) aims to support the development of key institutions and networks and to encourage and nurture political understanding and support for English-speaking communities and their institutions. The website also aims to increase awareness of existing resources available to English-speaking Quebec and to encourage inter-community and inter-institutional collaboration.

Thanks to a collaborative community effort already in progress, Donnelly is convinced that QUESCAN will become an indispensible and convenient resource for community action that will support and enhance the vitality of English-speaking Quebec - the main mission of Quebec Community Groups Network which brings together 32 Quebec-based organizations from various sectors and regions.

The QUESCAN website was designed using the dynamic, community-based Wikipedia, or Wiki, model. The Wiki is flexible and expandable and designed to grow and evolve through community contributions. It also uses social media tools to build, engage and strengthen the wider English-speaking community of Quebec.

"QUESCAN was designed to connect communities and individuals in order to facilitate the exchange of information, sharing expertise and learning," commented QCGN Director General Sylvia Martin-Laforge. "It also aims to help groups and individuals build relationships, plan strategies and rally support around issues of importance to the development and vitality of English-speaking Quebec."

QUESCAN is a close cousin to the Quebec English-Speaking REsearch Network (QUESCREN), a joint initiative of Concordia's School of Extended Learning (SEL) and the Canadian Institute for Research on Linguistic Minorities of the Université de Moncton (CIRLM), which is dedicated to developing research about English-speaking Quebec. QUESCREN, CIRLM and the Department of Canadian Heritage are major partners in the creation of QUESCAN which provides links to the websites of those three partners and many more online resources where information about the Official Language Minority English-speaking communities of Quebec can be accessed.

"Given our mandate, it is not surprising that the Quebec English-Speaking Communities Research Network or QUESCREN has been involved in the development of QUESCAN from the start," said Noel Burke, Dean of the School of Extended Learning at Concordia University which oversees QUESCREN.

"QUESCREN's vision is to develop community capacity to participate in and benefit from research, and researcher capacity to work in partnership with community," commented Dean Burke. "Collaborative, constructive and responsive to needs of researchers, community and other stakeholders, QUESCREN, working with its partners, fosters community and social sustainability, both through enhancing the vitality of Quebec's English-speaking communities and positioning the research community as a relevant and effective societal observer and actor. Clearly, working in partnership with the QCGN on QUESCAN has allowed QUESCREN to move forward in fulfilling this significant goal."

Dean Burke also noted that QUESCREN is on the advisory committee that was set up to review the development of QUESCAN. QUESCREN also worked alongside QCGN to hire, supervise and direct the researchers responsible for designing and populating the "Community Activist's Den" section of QUESCAN, with its many resources and tools.

"Over the coming months, QUESCAN is destined to become the "go-to" place for information about English-speaking Quebec," concluded QCGN president Robert Donnelly, re-enforcing the notion that active and ongoing participation from the Network and the community will ensure that QUESCAN provides extensive, relevant and applicable data and resources for members of the QCGN, the greater English-speaking community and those individuals and organizations interested in learning about English-speaking Quebec. "Through this new website, the Network and its partners hope to work constructively with other networks, organizations and individuals dedicated to the vitality of English-speaking Quebec."

QUESCAN was funded through a partnership with the Department of Canadian Heritage.

The Quebec Community Groups Network (www.qcgn.ca) is a not-for-profit organization bringing together 32 English language community organizations across Quebec for the purposes of supporting and assisting the development and enhancing the vitality of the English-speaking minority communities throughout the province.

SOURCE Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN)

For further information: For further information: Rita Legault, Director of Communications and Public Relations, (514) 868-9044, ext 223, rita.legault@qcgn.ca

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