Go local in Oak Bay with new website

Community-based website offers ways to connect neighbours

Oak Bay’s Julie Helms aims to connect neighbours through her Oak Bay Local website

Julie Helms believes in the power of social media to connect people in real life.

The Willows elementary teacher, who grew up in Oak Bay and lives here once again with husband Eric and their two young children, was looking for a way to build her community.

Her solution was a website for and by locals, www.oakbaylocal.com, launched in April.

“I started it because I felt we could connect a little bit more in Oak Bay,” Helms says.

The idea is to connect residents with their neighbours and neighbourhood, with local service providers and businesses – everyone from local dog walkers and piano teachers to contractors and the best babysitters. Helms also hosts a weekly draw, giving away a gift certificate to a local business.

“It’s a very positive space,” she says. “If you’ve had a great experience, you can share that.

“If people have questions, they can ask. I think they like that they’re connected in a different way. Before you could ask a friend about a Halloween costume; now you have 650 people.”

“One of my proudest things was we had a local carpenter and I put a page up on the website and he’s booked until Christmas now,” Helms says.

Then there was the youngster who lost his Go Pro and all its related equipment. A posting on the site quickly reconnected the youth and his gear.

Then there was the birthday party at risk of being rained out, when a posting brought a timely and most welcome tent from the crew at Engel and Völkers real estate company.

“I really believe in a healthy community you can ask for help and get some help if you need it,” Helms says.

Another top posting? “We have a lot of single shoes, especially in summer,” she says with a laugh.

The site also offers the opportunity to link generations, Helms says, noting young families can feel isolated, especially without relatives nearby.

Connections have come from neighbours wanting to learn from each other, bringing the idea for microworkshops exploring topics such as raising mason bees, for example, or teaching bread-baking for children.

“Now, with social media, we can really branch out and I feel it’s really healthy to do that,” Helms says. “I’m hoping everyone can find an area of interest.

“Ultimately the part I love is they are posting about whatever, but in the end they have a few new friends.”

 

 

Just Posted

Oak Bay man designer behind Canucks’ retro jersey

Jeremie White was 20 years old when he told Canucks assistant GM Brian Burke he had a design

BC Farmers’ Market Trail a one-stop virtual guide to the goods

New website assembles, profiles 145+ farmers’ markets throughout B.C.

Westshore Rebels game postponed due to poor air quality conditions

Games expected to continue the following week

Saanich police investigating sexual assault in broad daylight

Social media lit up with accusations incident took place at Regina Park tent city

Swimmer halts journey across Strait of Juan de Fuca after hypothermia sets in

Susan Simmons swam for eight-and-a-half hours in 9 C choppy waters

Five things to do in Greater Victoria this weekend

Puppy yoga, horses, cars, water guns and more make up this weekend’s list of events to see

Canadians fear for relatives trapped amid flooding in Indian state of Kerala

More than 800,000people have been displaced by floods and landslides

IndyCar driver Wickens flown to hospital after scary crash

IndyCar said Wickens was awake and alert as he was taken to a hospital

Ex-BCTF president ‘undeterred’ after early release from pipeline protest jail term

Susan Lambert and Order of Canada recipient Jean Swanson released early

Fast food chains look to capitalize on vegetarian, vegan trend with new items

Seven per cent of Canadians consider themselves vegetarians and 2.3 per cent identify as vegans

‘Hard on water:’ Smoke not the only long-range effect of wildfires

The project began more than 10 years ago after southern Alberta’s 2003 Lost Creek fire

B.C. VIEWS: Genuine aboriginal rights are misused and discredited

Camp Cloud one of long line of protests falsely asserting title

Most Read