07/19/2015 06:46 EDT | Updated 07/19/2016 05:59 EDT

City of Kelowna offers neighbourhood improvement grants

How would you like $1,000 to throw a block party in your neighbourhood?

Well, if you live in Kelowna, you're in luck.

The city's Strong Neighbourhood Project is awarding up to $1,000 for new initiatives designed by residents to draw neighbours together in a fun and creative way. 

"Because as great as the internet is to reach out and connect people, it's very hard to borrow a cup of sugar from your friends on Facebook," said Christopher Langer, a neighbourhood development coordinator for the city.

Neighbourhood engagement promotes health

"Kelowna is a fabulous city, but like many cities ... we find that we don't know our neighbours as much."

Studies have shown that neighbour interaction is an important health indicator, Langer said.

"It's also important as far as a city's stability and growth to have these strong neighbourhoods, to have these connected people in neighbourhoods who know each other and who have something to gain from staying in that neighbourhood."

First projects coming to fruition

The city began accepting grant applications for summer projects back in May. Langer said 18 applications were received in the first round, and most of them were approved. 

Now the results of those initiatives are starting to come into the community.

Next weekend, one of the first projects will take place with the celebration and grand opening of a free pop-up library.

"I am going to be there with bells on. I'm very excited to see what the residents have cooked up," said Langer.

The city is still accepting applications for fall projects. Ideas could include a block party, a neighbourhood picnic, a seed exchange, a porch concert, a sidewalk chart mural or even a cycling day.

To hear the full interview with Christopher Langer, listen to the audio labelled: Love thy neighbour, earn some cash.