Community programs benefit from funding
Foothills: MD council approved FCSS expenditure of $204,167 for local groups
Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 06:00 am
Nine Foothills organizations have received a financial boost after MD of Foothills council approved funding for local organizations focused on family, prevention and volunteerism.
MD councilors have approved $204,167 for the most recent funding allotment of Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) funding. Recipients include Big Brothers Big Sisters of Calgary and Area, Boys & Girls Club of the Foothills, Christ the Redeemer and Foothills school divisions, Friends of the Bar U, Millarville Ag Society, Priddis Millarville Fair, Rowan House and Wild Rose Community Connections.
MD FCSS also paid out $32,500 to the Town of High FCSS outreach program as compensation for services offered to Foothills residents.
With thousands of acres to cover, it would be unreasonable to have a single MD FCSS centre and expect residents to travel long distances, she said. People can choose to seek assistance in Black Diamond, Okotoks or High River, said MD FCSS co-odinator Amanda Midgley.
“The MD doesn’t actually run any programs, we’re a funding agency only, we pay other FCSS groups in our jurisdiction to support our residents,” she said.
Those services may include help with taxes or getting referrals to other agencies in times of need, said Midgley.
The amount of money paid to the community FCSS centres is based on the population of MD residents using services, she said. High River receives a larger sum than Okotoks, which received $12,000 from MD FCSS in its last round of funding, because the Town of High River provides a new outreach program, said Midgley.
“They’re able to go into some of our small hamlets and do some support directly for those people who can’t get into High River or Okotoks,” said Midgley. “Mostly we’re trying to support the Cayley, Blackie, Aldersyde and Millarville groups, just some areas where we’re finding there’s a bit of need and they’re not fully supported.”
The remaining funds will go to support organizations offering services to families or children, fostering community, and to volunteer groups, she said.
One of the benefactors was the Priddis Millarville Fair, which received $5,000 to produce its fair book. Fair spokesperson Suzanne Sills said the group receives funding for the publication each year.
“The book details all of the classes, competitions, contests that you can enter as part of the fair,” said Sills.
The fair runs on the third weekend of August each year at the Millarville Race Track. This will be the 110th anniversary of the fair, which celebrates being one of the oldest fairs in the province.
The 60-page book contains all the information people need to enter the fair and keep the tradition going, she said. About 1,000 copies are distributed throughout the Foothills.
“The book is compiled entirely by volunteers, so this money covers just the cost of publishing the book,” said Sills. “It’s filled with photographs and we find we get a lot of very positive feedback from that, because they show the kind of thing you can participate in at the fair, and the fun, and really encourage people to participate.”
The Millarville Ag Society, which is also housed at the Millarville Race Track, was provided $13,667 toward its volunteer appreciation and awareness programs.
Lisa Lloyd, executive director of the society, said it’s important to support the volunteers who help make events successful.
“It’s a non-profit organization we run here, and it’s been going since 1905,” said Lloyd. “The real backbone and foundation of our facility is around our volunteer base, our membership who put a lot of effort and energy into helping run the different activities we do here.”
She said it’s vital that volunteers are engaged and excited to come out to help. Part of the funding is to pay for meals supplied to volunteers while they’re working events, she said.
The funds will also help cover the costs of implementing a new volunteer database that will operate as a tracking system for volunteers to track their time.
“We’ve got some high school kids, I know they require some tracking for their volunteer time for their diplomas now, so it just allows us to get a more accurate basis of what hours are being put in,” said Lloyd.
The Millarville Ag Society is currently working on getting more family events on the books, such as hosting more family-oriented activities at the Heritage Rodeo or hosting new events for all ages, she said.
“All those things take lots of volunteers to help get them off the ground,” said Lloyd. “That’s kind of the focus, and that’s what the grant was for, to specifically help in those areas and give back to the volunteer community we’ve got here.”
MD Mayor Larry Spilak, who sits on the MD FCSS committee, said the funding is an important contribution to the community. It provides assistance to necessary programs like fetal alcohol syndrome and domestic violence, and caters to the mental health of children and family wellness, he said.
“The funding is not the fix, the cure for these things, but more towards preventing it from happening in the future through programming,” said Spilak. “And that’s what our board looks at.”