On January 14, 2020 Columbia Basin Trust announced their support of 31 projects in the region to promote increased well-being.
The various projects will be receiving a total of nearly $680,000 from Columbia Basin Trust’s Social Grants program.
“Alongside many community organizations in the region, the Trust is dedicated to helping all people in the Basin meet their needs and access resources that will help them address challenges and thrive in their communities,” said Aimee Ambrosone, Columbia Basin Trust’s executive director, delivery of benefits. “These projects will boost the well-being of a wide range of people by addressing a variety of social issues and opportunities.”
Out of the 31 projects that will be receiving funds, three have roots in the Elk Valley. The Kootenay Brain Injury association was granted $30,000 for their counselling and connection for wellness project. The intent of the project is to provide barrier-free support, intervention, counselling, education and resources to people in crisis.
The Fernie Chapter of Cycling Without Age also received a grant. Cycling Without Age aims to “reduce social isolation for seniors and people with mobility issues by using trishaws to facilitate active involvement in their communities.” They received funding in the amount of $17,000.
The final Elk Valley organization to be granted funding is the Fernie Pride Society. They received $5,000 that, according to Fernie Pride Society founder Kevin Allen, will go towards supporting their communications outreach coordinator.
“It is the second time we’ve got this grant through the social grant program and it’s for our communications outreach coordinator who does a lot of work to support board and board committees and doing social media for us and answering emails and administration stuff too,” he said.
Allen explained that having a strong online presence is extremely important for the Pride Society and that this grant will go a long way in reducing feelings of isolation in the queer community in the Elk Valley.
“One of the things about the LGBTQ2 community, sometimes, is that we suffer from isolation. Particularly in the Elk Valley, some people maybe aren’t as connected as other people or could be closeted or whatever the situation is,” he said. “For us to have that sort of consistent presence online is important to let people know that there is support and reinforcement for them.”
The Pride Society will be continuing with the online presence and also making a return to the Griz Days parade this year. Allen also added that the society is looking for new board members to allow them to do more work in the community.
Although this funding from the Columbia Basin Trust is spread out all over the region, there will no doubt be a positive impact on communities in the Elk Valley as a direct result of the grants.