Prince George community sport organizations are among 22 recipients in the north who 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 in a news release.
"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."
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 is meant to help ensure sport opportunities are available to these groups by providing support to sports organizations that offer targeted programming.
"Nechako Karate Club is very grateful for this grant from the Province of B.C.," said Keith Nakashima, instructor at Prince George’s Nechako Karate Club, who is receiving funding.
"This funding is important in helping us address some of the financial pressures brought on by the pandemic and in creating a safe environment for our athletes and staff to learn and hone their skill in karate."
Other community sport recipients in Prince George include:
- Northern B.C. Centre for Skating Association
- Prince George Canoe & Kayak Club
- Prince George Horse Society
- Northern Adapted Sports Association
- Prince George Multi-Sport Northern BC Centre for Skating Association
- Prince George Recreation Hockey League
- Prince George Ringette Association
- Prince George Ski Club
- Prince George Track and Field Club
- Prince George Youth Rugby Association
- Prince George Youth Soccer Association
"Local sport programming delivers profound benefits to the health and well-being of communities and individuals across our province," said Charlene Krepiakevich, CEO, viaSport in the news release.
"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.