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ALEX HOUSE: Belonging at a time of alienation

‘We belong Surrey’ promotes inclusion, compassion, integrity, respect and empathy
Alexandra and Crescent Park Community Gardens have been supplying up to 75 per cent of the vegetables being distributed through the emergency SOX BOX project. (Contributed photo)

What does “community” mean to you? Who do you count as members of your community?

Questions of belonging and inclusion are crucial to everyone, but no one more so than the one who experiences exclusion from community. Exclusion may result from a visible or hidden disability; or some aspect of one’s being or identity; or simply the lack of opportunity.

For better and for worse, a community is defined as much by who it leaves behind as by who it includes.

Along with the Surrey Board of Trade, UNITI, Peninsula Homelessness to Housing, DIVERSEcity, and the XBA Centre of Dance, Alex House is proud to be a founding Pillar Partner of “We Belong Surrey,” a non-partisan coalition of businesses, community organizations, and individuals who believe in a city where all people are valued and belong. This coalition gives voice to the truth that the strength of community is the welcome and accommodation given to people of diverse abilities, backgrounds, and incomes.

At Alex House we understand the importance of diversity and inclusion in defining a healthy and thriving community. We aspire to centre our work on the experience of Indigenous peoples and communities, in order to disrupt the systemic impacts of colonization. We value and respect the sovereignty of the local Host Nations – the Semiahma (Semiahmoo), q̓ic̓əy̓ (Katzie), and qʼʷa:n̓ƛʼən̓ (Kwantlen) Nations.

“We Belong Surrey” coalition partners and members share values of inclusion, integrity, compassion, respect, and empathy. We will work collaboratively to ensure that these values are at the forefront of this fall’s municipal election. We know that the vast majority of the citizens of Surrey also share these values, including the people Alex House supports, their families, and their friends.To learn more and to become a member of We Belong Surrey, visit:


Summer Neighbourhood Fun Nights continue through August. Drop by our beautiful Crescent Beach location to enjoy a low-cost dinner in our Centennial Plaza, live music, a door prize, kids’ activities on the lawn, community tables, and more! Fun Nights happen every Wednesday through Aug. 24, from 5-7 p.m. at 2916 McBride Ave. The cost is $12, $8 for kids 13 and under, and includes a dessert and beverage. There are discounts when you buy advance tickets for two or four nights. Registration at our website is encouraged, but not mandatory – go to, click on community events, and follow the link to Neighbourhood Fun Nights.


Our two community gardens have kicked into high gear. Among the produce grown for gardeners’ tables, Alexandra and Crescent Park Community Gardens have been supplying up to 75 per cent of the vegetables being distributed through our emergency SOX BOX project. Some of the volunteers involved in growing the produce also volunteer in distributing it, along with groceries from the Sources Food Hub, to local households experiencing economic challenges or social isolation at this time. Let me know if you’d like to support this project:

Neil Fernyhough is Alex House community programmer. He writes monthly for Peace Arch News.