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Nanaimo welcoming group hopes to connect newcomers to local community

A local Nanaimo group is trying to introduce newcomers to the community.

The Nanaimo Neighborhood Welcome is a group that welcomes newcomers by providing them a welcome package and information about local businesses in the Nanaimo area. 

Area Coordinator Janet Birch says they do a meetup every month, and the number of people who show up differs.

“People at the end of that meetup were exchanging numbers. People found they had similar interests. So it was really nice to see that aspect,” said Birch. “My job there was to connect the business with the newcomers. We had a few families that lived quite close that didn’t know about [Simonholt Restaurant]. So they said, oh, this is great. We could come here.”

The welcome group was established in 2020, after the Nanaimo Welcome Wagon closed its doors permanently. 

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The free welcome package offered to newcomers includes a variety of coupons, gift certificates, samples, and a list of local services. Birch says it’s something she got when she moved to Nanaimo 15 years ago.

The welcome group offers it to anyone who has been in Nanaimo for less than a year.

“If it’s over by a few months or whatever then we’re not gonna say no, you can’t have one,” says Birch. “During the pandemic that was kind of extended. Now that things are kind of opening up a lot more, it’s gone back to the year mark.”

Birch says she’ll be handing out welcome packages on March 3rd to any newcomer who attends the Evergreen Exhibition Homeshow at Beban Park.

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