A desire to re-connect residents with their community and each other is the driving force behind the Hillside Community Society.
This group’s main focus is to work together to generate funds to build a community centre in Hillside so that community residents can socialize with each other, celebrate milestones and get together for fun and fellowship.
This need was hammered home when Sadie Boyles, president, said she overheard a conversation in a grocery store where one person told another that they lived in Hillside. Boyles lives in Hillside and had no idea who the other Hillside resident was.
She said that conversation had an impact on her and had her longing for the days when neighbours knew each other by name and face.
“Neighbours used to know their neighbours,” she said. “Now, some neighbours know some others, but not all. A community centre for the area will redevelop that sense of connecting the community.”
The Hillside Community Society is working to make that dream of a community connection a reality with the construction of a community centre.
Peter Boyles is the municipal councillor for District 9 which includes Hillside. He said that area has never had a community centre; instead, resident had access to a church hall. But now, the Municipality of Pictou County has given the community the parcel of land where the old school used to be, on Chance Harbour Road.
He agrees wholeheartedly with his wife, Sadie. “I think every community should have a community hall. At one time if you had a community hall, you could meet and everybody knew everybody. Now, nobody hardly knows anybody. And it’s sad,” he said.
Boyles said when he was campaigning he had lots of support for the suggestion of a community hall for the area and plenty of offers from constituents who volunteered their time and talents to help make it a reality.
The drive and desire to build a hall have been cemented; now all that’s needed is the funding.
That where his wife and her group of dedicated volunteers comes in. They are trying to fundraise the $225,000-$250,000 needed to build the hall. They are hoping to begin construction in spring of 2020 and have the hall complete by that summer.
That’s a daunting task for a handful of people, but they are determined to work hard towards their fundraising goal. Their first fundraising project was held during lobster season last year when they sold tickets on a feed of the delectable crustaceans and realized a gain of approximately $800. Last month, they held a flea market at the Trenton Rink Annex and raised more than $1,200. They are hoping to repeat or top that success with their next fundraising flea market set to take place again at the Trenton Rink Annex over two days, Jan. 26 and 27, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, where they will have brand new décor for Valentine’s Day and Easter, among other items. “Any amount of money we raise will be greatly appreciated,” she said.
There are plenty of other events planned as well, Sadie Boyles said, including bake sales, other ticket and raffle sales and a bottle drive. The society is about to embark on a fundraising letter campaign seeking financial support from businesses and individuals.
In a previous interview, Peter Boyles said when he was campaigning he had lots of offers from constituents who volunteered their time and talents to help make it a reality. Now, they are inviting anyone with time to spare to step up and help out.
“I can always use new faces,” Sadie said, “and I’m open to any and all help – no matter where you live.”
She is hoping other communities will make use of the hall, when built, to host activities as well. She hopes the committee can offer the hall free of the regular rental charge to those who are celebrating a significant milestone, for example a 90th birthday, in exchange for a donation to the venue.
As county councillor, Peter Boyles will try to pursue avenues for funding so it will cut down on the cost. One of the suggestions Boyles is particularly excited about is a dedication wall. “We have a lot of veterans, so if anybody wants to give a particular amount for a dedication wall I think we can make that happen.”
For additional information or to volunteer in any capacity, contact Sadie Boyles at 902-755-3938.
The Hillside Community Society hosted a fundraising sale of decorative Christmas items last month at the Trenton Community Arena Annex. Morgan DeWolfe was one of the volunteers who helped patrons with their shopping. The same group is holding another flea market fundraiser on Jan. 26 and 27, also at the rink annex. (Goodwin photo)