Four East Kootenay sports groups are included among many across B.C. set to receive part of the $1.5-million Local Sport Relief Fund.
The B.C. Government said the COVID-19 pandemic has put financial pressure on many sports clubs throughout the province, and without funding, many clubs risk closure.
A total of 288 organizations across the province will receive funding, including the Kimberley Gymnastics Society, Kootenay East Youth Soccer Association, Elkford Skating Club and the Toby Creek Nordic Ski Club in Invermere.
“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.”
The B.C. Government added that rural and remote communities and under-represented populations, such as Indigenous peoples, girls and women, low-income individuals, persons with disabilities and newcomers, feel the impacts of limited physical activity disproportionally during the pandemic.
Funding provided by the Local Sport Relief Fund helps to ensure opportunities are available for sports organizations that offer targeted programming to those groups.
“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.”
According to the B.C. Government, the Local Sport Relief Fund covers administration and operational costs for local sports organizations dealing with the impacts of COVID-19.
Funding can be used to cover 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.
The Province said it is considering other opportunities to support the sporting sector after it received a significant number of applications for the initial Local Sport Relief Fund.
More: Local Sport Relief Fund recipients (B.C. Government)