Fifty community sport organizations in the Interior region will receive financial support from the Province’s $1.5-million Local Sport Relief Fund.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put financial pressure on many local sports clubs throughout British Columbia that have had limited ability to offer programming and fundraise to cover expenses. Without financial support, these clubs are at risk of closure, leaving communities without local access to sport. A total of 288 organizations will be supported by the Local Sport Relief Fund.
“Coaches, volunteers and board members have worked around the clock to ensure people can keep active and gain the physical and mental benefits of sport during the pandemic,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “We heard their challenges to meet financial pressures with current health orders in place and are proud to provide this additional support so our communities can continue to offer sport in a safe way.”
Harwinder Sandhu, MLA for Vernon-Monashee, said, “Our government recognizes the important role local sport organizations play across the Okanagan. I’ve connected with local representatives from the sporting community and heard their concerns. This funding will be instrumental in helping them regain financial footing so they can continue to offer opportunities for physical activity, fun and teamwork for everyone.”
Rural and remote communities, as well as under-represented populations, such as Indigenous peoples, girls and women, low-income individuals, persons with disabilities and newcomers, are disproportionally impacted by limited physical activities during the pandemic. The Local Sport Relief Fund helps ensure sport opportunities are available to these groups by providing support to sports organizations that offer targeted programming.
“Local sport programming delivers profound benefits to the health and well-being of communities and individuals across our province” said Charlene Krepiakevich, CEO, viaSport. “Delivering these community benefits are local sport organizations that have been hit hard during this time. This funding provides much-needed financial relief to sustain these organizations during these challenging times and enable these valuable services to continue.”
The Local Sport Relief Fund covers administration and operational costs for local sports organizations dealing with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible expenses include insurance, administrative costs, rent, storage costs, equipment essential to providing sports programs and COVID-19 related supplies, such as cleaning products, signage and personal protective equipment. Given the significant number of applications received for the initial Local Sport Relief Fund, the ministry is considering other opportunities to support the sport sector.
“The pandemic has led to some significant financial challenges,” said Theresa Cooper, executive director, Okanagan Gymnastics Centre. “With this funding grant from the Province of B.C., we will be able to weather the storm and ensure that we can continue to offer safe programming, both now and into the future.”
A list of Local Sport Relief Fund grant recipients is posted on viaSport’s website at: https://www.viasport.ca/grant/local-sport-relief-fund
For more information about the Return to Sport Guidelines, visit: https://www.viasport.ca/return-sport