The Max Bell Foundation and Burns Memorial Fund Natural Support Policy Fellowship aims to develop a policy and practice framework to advance community-based natural supports for Albertan children and youth, and their families. Evidence is lacking on the enablers and barriers of natural support opportunities within communities. We need to understand these opportunities from the perspectives of those who work within community settings, specifically community influencers, to advance the natural supports agenda. Community influencers are defined as those individuals who are aware of, promote, and are involved with community-based supports

The aim of this project piece is to understand community influencer perceptions of enablers and barriers to opportunities that advance natural supports within Calgary communities. From the work done by the Change Collective in Calgary around the Natural Supports Practice Framework, natural supports is a familiar concept to many practitioners, not-for-profits, community workers, etc. By focusing on Calgary communities, more information can be learned about the enablers and barriers of current natural supports opportunities.

Multiple communities in Calgary will be studied. To gather various views and perspectives, interviews will be conducted with community influencers from different sectors, including health, recreation, not-for-profit, education, justice, and community knowledge brokers. Knowledge brokers are defined as those individuals living within a community who display leadership qualities and assist with knowledge translation by bringing community members and influencers together.

This project piece has been approved by the University of Calgary Conjoint Health Research Ethics Board (REB18-2003), and is currently underway. If you would like additional information, or have any questions, please email Jessica Walsh at, or you may call if preferred at 403-441-8464.