There’s help on the horizon for community sports groups struggling to pay the bills during these pandemic times.
The provincial government on Saturday announced a $1.5 million lifeline through its Local Sport Relief Fund to helps minor sports organizations facing closure or who have been forced to curtail programs and restrict access due to an inability to collect registration fees, event revenues and sponsorships.
“COVID-19 has had a significant financial impact on local non-profit sport organizations, resulting in a great number being at risk of disappearing,” said Charlene Krepiakevich, CEO of viaSport, in a prepared release.
"As sport begins to safely return to communities, this funding will help maintain the viability of these organizations and retain the opportunities they have worked so hard to create for British Columbians."
The program will help organizations pay bills, salaries, society dues and maintenance fees while the ride out the pandemic. The deadline to apply for the program is Oct. 16.
“For many athletes and families, local sport organizations provide the important physical, mental and social benefits sports offer, which we need more than ever,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. “This funding will help local organizations so they can continue to support children, families and our communities with healthy activities.”
The funding will allow sports organizations to expand their COVID-19 restricted programs to allow more activities for participants of a wider range of age and ability.
Through viaSport, the province has provided $11 million in accelerated funding to provincial, disability and multi-sport organizations. That’s in addition to federal relief measures such as the $72 million COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Sport Organization and a $3.9 million investment from Canadian Heritage.