Local programs get a boost

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Fourteen non-profit groups across the Foothills are getting a financial boost from a funding program that supports communities.

Turner Valley Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) is committing $35,000 to partner agencies and another $11,978 for municipal programs this year as it continues to support and fund preventative social services across the region.

Monique LeBlanc, FCSS community services manager, said the program received 14 applications requesting a total of $49,522, but only $35,000 could be allocated.

“There was an increase in funding requests by approximately 10 per cent over last year,” she said. “Each one of the applications is reviewed by the committee based on merit and alignment to the FCSS funding criteria. The committee decided to apply the amount of the grant that was most likely to be helpful to the organization in providing programming to Turner Valley.”

FCSS’s total funding is $56,171 in 2018, with about 80 per cent coming from the Province and the remaining by the Town of Turner Valley, said LeBlanc. The approximately $10,000 not allocated to partner agencies and municipal programs is used for administration and other costs.

“We’ve been operating on a small budget,” she said. “To be able to strengthen those grant dollars we work jointly in grant programming with Black Diamond FCSS.”

The Boys and Girls Club of Foothills will receive the largest sum, $6,500, to fund a volunteer co-ordinator position in Turner Valley.

Shirley Puttock, the club’s executive director, said the contribution makes a big difference for the club, which provides programming and childcare for youth in the Oilfields Arena.

“The non-profit in these challenging economic times really rely on volunteers for helping out with our programs and events,” she said. “We want someone out there talking about what we do and getting help for the children that we’re trying to change their lives.”

Puttock said volunteers are needed at community events such as Discovery Days, Canada Day celebrations and registration night.

“This funding goes a long way to paying someone to recruit and train our volunteers,” she said. “We have a spectrum right from teenagers to seniors. We have such diversity in our staffing and families that it’s nice to have diversity in our volunteers as well.”

She said the club relies on FCSS each year.

“We absolutely need it,” she said. “We are really grateful to FCSS. They have been supportive to us forever in all of our communities.”

The Okotoks Family Resource Centre received $6,000 toward support programs, Foothills School Division received $4,000 for a family school liaison counsellor and $2,500 each went to the Foothills Country Hospice for volunteer services, Foothills SNAPS for its family support outreach program and the Valley Neighbours Club for social programming.

Other recipients are Literacy for Life, which received $2,000 for its community family literacy project, Royal Canadian Legion with $1,680 for its family activities and $1,200 each to the Sheep River Library for its volunteer recruitment, retention and recognition and Foothills Fetal Alcohol Society for prevention and education.

LeBlanc said most recipients make annual applications and have been supported by FCSS for years.

The demand continues to climb for local programming, said LeBlanc. Among the most popular are transportation, housekeeping, pool fee subsidy programs and baby-sitting and home alone courses for youth.

“We are able to deliver these important programs to the community as a result of our partnerships with first our neighbouring communities, especially Black Diamond and the organizations that have the programs like the Biz Kids program and other internal programs,” she said.

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