The annual Signs of Hope Mini-Mural Festival in Nanaimo was the inspiration for Heather Gordon Murphy’s application to the Campbell River Community Foundation’s recent Neighbourhood Small Grants intake. Photo from Signs of Hope on Facebook

The annual Signs of Hope Mini-Mural Festival in Nanaimo was the inspiration for Heather Gordon Murphy’s application to the Campbell River Community Foundation’s recent Neighbourhood Small Grants intake. Photo from Signs of Hope on Facebook

Looking for signs of hope

Community Foundation grant to be used to brighten up the community with positive messaging

If there’s one thing people need right now, it’s hope.

At least that’s what Heather Gordon Murphy thinks, and she’ll be using a Neighbourhood Small Grant from the Campbell River Community Foundation to see what she can do to make that happen.

The foundation recently awarded a batch of grants of up to $500 each for projects that can be done by individuals – or their household bubbles – to make the community a better place.

“I’ve been watching this campaign in Nanaimo called Signs of Hope that’s been going on for a while, and they did one just a few months ago, during COVID and they did it outside and took all the safety precautions and whatnot and it worked out really well,” she says. “So I thought I could bring something like that to Campbell River.”

The idea is relatively simple, really. She’ll get some sheets of plywood and some paint from local retailers, and have people make signs that can be displayed around town sharing messages of hope and happiness.

As the current chair of the Downtown Business Improvement Association, she chose “downtown” as the neighbourhood she was representing, “because I thought ‘wouldn’t it be nice to connect people in some capacity who live, work, run businesses or spend time in the downtown?’”

And “connection” doesn’t need to be a physical thing, she says.

“I just thought it would be nice to have everyone together, even if it’s not physically, to work on one project,” she says. “It makes them all part of one thing and they can take pride in being ‘together’ in it, even while doing all of their parts separately.”

While she’s not sure exactly what it will end up looking like – or even when it’s going to happen now that we are dealing with various restrictions on people even being in the same place at the same time, there are a few things she is sure of.

“I do know I want to do it outside, so Spirit Square is an obvious option, or maybe the foreshore park,” she says. “But right now we’re not supposed to gather in any way, shape or form, so I’m holding off on specifics until we can. I was hoping to do it earlier, but I’ll do it whenever it’s safe and makes sense to do it.

“And I know that it’s important for the community, and especially the downtown, to have something like this going on,” she continues.

“We need hope, and we need to think hopeful thoughts, and we need to share them with each other.”

Keep your ear to the ground – also known as watching local social media platforms – in terms of when the project will get underway and how to get involved.

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