Monday, May 02, 2016

Lack of grant hurts community services

by Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star posted May 1, 2016 at 1:00 AM— updated May 1, 2016 at 6:05 AM
posted Apr 4, 2012 at 1:00 AM
Evaporating funds have North Okanagan agencies struggling to maintain programs. Besides the Upper Room Mission, which has lost $100,000, NexusBC has had a provincial gaming grant scrapped and the John Howard Society could be next. “As of March 31, the volunteer service has closed,” said Lynn Belsher, NexusBC executive director. Through a $41,800 gaming grant, Nexus recruited volunteers and referred them to non-profit agencies in the community needing help. “Two staff have been laid off, no orientations for potential volunteers are taking place and non-profits have to recruit their own volunteers,” said Belsher. “Our organization will continue to exist, we have other programs here. The bigger loss is to the community. So many organizations depend on volunteers and use volunteer services to fill their volunteer needs.” The situation at Nexus has negatively impacted Special Olympics. “I, like most other volunteer co-ordinators,who are volunteers themselves, do not have time to flood the newspaper with ads,” said Alison Dennis, with Special Olympics. “I do not have a data base of places to advertise my volunteer needs. Nexus has that.” Nexus has appealed the government decision. At the John Howard Society, it has been warned that a $25,000 grant for the social supports program could be gone after eight years. “Unless we can prove broad community benefit, we will no longer be eligible,” said Barb Levesque, executive director. The $25,000 helps clients largely with health issues not covered by other programs. “We buy dentures and we spent a lot on dental surgery,” said Levesque. “We spend money on traumatized clients for psychiatric counselling. Many are victims of childhood sexual assault.” Work boots and other equipment are also purchased so individuals can get jobs. “The funds help people move on with their lives,” said Levesque, who questions what the B.C. Gaming Branch identifies as a broad community benefit. “We provide them with a long description of why services are important. We describe why it’s important that someone has teeth. “The broad community benefit is all citizens can participate in society to the best of their ability.” The government is defending its actions. “To receive funding, applicants must meet the eligibility criteria outlined in the program guidelines and comply with reporting procedures set out by the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch,” states the Ministry of Community Development. “Applications are assessed on an annual basis on the individual merits of each application. Letters are sent to applicants to advise whether grant applications have been approved or denied and they make a point to provide an explanation of the decision as well as useful information to organizations on how to improve their application next year.” The ministry states that funding for community gaming grants, has remained steady at $135 million annually in recent years. Ministry officials will meet with local groups May 19. “I hope they will distinguish the ideas around broad community benefit,” said Levesque.
Community Gaming Grant Applications in Progress (Vernon excerpted) (Note Date of application) This report was generated on: 02-May-2016 05:27 (Check Link for other local areas: Armstrong, Spall< Enderby, Lumby, & Coldstream)

Excerpted Vernon Grants for period(Check Link for other local areas: Armstrong, Spall< Enderby, Lumby, & Coldstream)

Gaming Revenue Granted to, and Earned by Community Organizations - 2014/15 Full Report (by community)

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