Neighbourhood Group Updates

OWNG has received an amazing amount of support this year! The neighbourhood group was the recipient of the $500 Acorn Prize from the Oaktree Foundation in April and to quote them we “won by a landslide!” Thanks so much to everyone who took the time to vote for us.  A very special thanks goes out to the wonderful folks at Willow Road RBC who have helped in supporting the centre with RBC Team Grants and all their volunteer time at our community events. This year we also celebrated the very first free community fridge in Guelph, located at OWNG! This was made possible by the generous people from Road to Zero Waste, who continue to supply our neighbourhood with fresh fruits and vegetables on a regular basis. Staff at Onward Willow have joined forces with the Shelldale Outreach team so we can better support our community members — we’re all pretty excited about this as it helps provide more collaborative support to those in need. 

One of the most exciting things that happened so far this year is that we wrote a grant and won the $5000- Seedling Prize from the Oaktree Project! The funds will be used to start programming around a clothing/textile recycling and re-purposing project where we’ll be making new items out of old fabric. This will help alleviate the landfill disposal of the 1000s of pounds of unusable fabric we receive each year. We hope to begin programming in the Fall. Anyone interested in being part of this can e-mail:

Sundae Fundae was a great success this year with almost 100 people coming out to enjoy sundaes, the Inflated Ego Balloon Entertainer, caricatures from Taylor’s Tunes, a slip and slide and a fun community get-together! There were tons of happy kids! There is also an ongoing craft day every Wednesday through the summer months onsite at OWNG with Shauna, our Neighbourhood Group Assistant. There will be a fun craft happening between 11am-1pm for kids ages 6-13 yrs. Come out and get creative!

Finally, many, many thanks go out to Homelife Group for the Easter Food Drive; Wild Rose Consignment Boutique for their ongoing clothing donations; to Apple Salon for raising more than $2000- for OWNG through their annual cut-a-thon fundraiser; Kelly Caldwell for the generous sponsorship of our kid’s activities at the Marketplace & Fair and a HUGE thanks to all our dedicated volunteers! You are the heart & soul of the neighbourhood group!

March Break

Hello Friends!

Onward Willow NG will be closed over the March Break with the exception of Friday March 15th: we’ll be open between 10am-3pm. On Monday March 18th, we’ll be re-opening with regular hours. Looking forward to seeing you all again!

Mondays: 10:00am-3:00pm

Wednesdays: 10:00am-3:00pm

*Thursdays: by appointment Only

Fridays: 10:00am-3:00pm

Tax Clinics at Shelldale Family Gateway

Tax clinics are being held at Shelldale Family Gateway, in partnership with Onward Willow NG & the Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition, on the following dates. Appointments are required and can be made by calling Shelldale directly at 519-824-8498.

Please see tax clinic dates below and requirements for accessing this no-cost program.

Qualifications to attend a free tax clinic:
Simple tax return within the following income levels:

Family size          Total family income

1 person              $35,000

2 persons            $45,000

3 persons            $47,500

4 persons            $50,000

5 persons            $52,500

more than 5 persons      $52,500 plus $2,500 for each additional person
The following dates are available for appointments. These fill up quickly!
Saturday March 9th – 10:00am-3:00pmmust be a resident in the Onward Willow neighbourhood.
Saturday March 23rd – 10:00am-3:00pmmust be a resident in the Onward Willow neighbourhood.
Saturday April 13th – 10:00am-3:00pmthis is a city-wide clinic that anyone within Guelph can access with an appointment.

Onward Willow Homework Club 2019

Homework Club at Willow Road P.S. Library

This is a FREE program with light snacks available.

Tutors available in a variety of subjects including :Reading – Writing – Math –Science – Geography – History – French homework skills

For more information, please contact Coordinator Liz Vardon at 519-767-8642

Seeking Participants for the Decent Work Project (paid positions)

Hello Friends! We are looking for committed people to participate in the Decent Work Project and to apply by March 15th. These are paid positions (up to 50 hrs) through an honorarium and offered through the Guelph Wellington Poverty Task Force. Transportation, food and childcare will also be provided. Please see details below. If  interested, please e-mail This is a great opportunity for those who wish to receive valuable training in and become community advocates for fair & decent work.
Program Details:
The Decent Work Peer Leader Program is a free training for 8 people from Guelph and Wellington who are impacted by:
• Low wages
• Unfair work conditions
• Part-time work
• Temporary work
• Contract work.
Participants will attend training sessions that will cover a variety of topics including, but not limited to:
• Workers’ rights
• Advocacy
• Outreach
When training is done, participants will have the chance to advocate for decent work through:
• Outreach
• Community meetings
• Other training during the spring
Participants will receive an honorarium for their time (up to 50 hours).
The Decent Work Peer Leader Program is part of the Guelph-Wellington Decent Work Project led by the Poverty Task Force in partnership with the Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition with funding from the Atkinson Foundation. This project aims to build the decent work movement in Guelph-Wellington by giving chances for people to:
• Build skills
• Gain new skills
• Grow relationships
• Advocate for fair wages
• Advocate for fair working conditions
Who can apply to participate in the program?
You can apply for this program if you are:
• Living in Guelph or Wellington
• Dealing with:
o Low wages
o Unfair working conditions
o Part-time work
o Temporary work
o Contract work
When does it start?
Participants will attend training in March and April. The first training will be offered twice. Participants are required to attend ONE of the below times. The training will take place at a location in downtown Guelph and meals will be given.

OWNG Temporary Closure

Onward Willow Neighbourhood Group Centre will remain closed next week from Monday March 4th through Tuesday March 15th due to unforeseen circumstances. We anticipate opening back up as soon as possible. We’re sorry for any inconvenience this may cause. Please reach out to for more information. To make an appointment to visit the clothing cupboard, or any of the centre’s services, please reach out to Unfortunately, we’re unable to accept any donations during this time without an appointment. If you require a food hamper, some additional options include Hope House, Chalmers United downtown, and The Salvation Army on York Road. We look forward to seeing you upon reopening!

Exciting News!

A huge thank-you to ETFO (Elementary Teacher’s Federation of Ontario) and to ETFO Local for selecting Onward Willow Neighbourhood Group as a funding recipient to support anti-poverty work in Guelph and for the special funding bonus from our local ETFO. What a great surprise! We’re so grateful for the support!