Provincial gaming funds totalling $107,440 have been granted to six local non-profit organizations.
The recipients include the 100 Mile and District Minor Hockey Association ($45,000), West Coast Blind Curling Association ($8,000), Kokoro Judo Association ($4,480), 100 Mile House Special Olympics ($3,800), 100 Mile House and District Soccer Association ($26,160) and the 100 Mile House and District Historical Society ($20,000).
“The 100 Mile House and District Historical Society will have the resources to help tell the stories of our history to residents and visitors through their museum program,” says Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett, in a news release announcing the contributions on July 23. “Sports associations and groups in 100 Mile will also receive a boost of funding to help with travel costs to tournaments in other locations, arena fees or help to purchase new equipment.”
Coaches and organizers reacted positively to the news.
100 Mile Special Olympics organizer Denise Barker says the group is “overjoyed” with the funding, which will go to their bowling program that starts in October.
“Anytime we receive any amount of funding, whether big or small, we are thrilled. We will be able to pay for the athletes’ bowling costs, relieving them of the fees. Also, we will hopefully be attending a Quesnel bowling tournament in the spring. One season of bowling can run up to $4,000, and the trip to Quesnel can run up to $2,000.”
Ian Briggs of the Kokoro Judo Club says the financial demands of running the club are significant.
“This money makes the difference between just meeting our financial obligations, to being able to continue to improve and grow our club.”
Rent, heat and utilities are 90 per cent of the club’s operating costs, which are just covered by club fees, Briggs adds.
“With this money, we can continue to sponsor some kids to continue in judo who may not otherwise be able to participate. This will also help with training and certification of our coaches. Some of our equipment is getting worn and now we can replace the worst items. We have other ideas too: a club bus for tournaments, a travel fund for needy athletes, a sign for the building, [and] more strength training equipment.”
The 100 Mile House and District Soccer Association has about 400 youth in its ranks.
The association receives a gaming grant almost every year, which goes to buying balls, nets and uniforms, basically “all the things kids need to actually play,” explains sponsorship director Werner Heine.
“In recent times, [money] is tight, even in government,” he says. “We’re happy people that make these decisions see this is a worthwhile cause to keep kids active.”
Mary-Ann Rutledge was a longtime board member of the 100 Mile House and District Historical Society and only recently stepped down. She applied for the grant, which will mainly pay the wages of two summer students, and go to utilities and small repairs at the 108 Mile Heritage Site.
“The donations this year at the museum are way down. They’re really hurting that way.”
Rutledge applied for a gaming grant every year since 1997, and only once did not receive one.
“[Without those funds], it would be bare bones and volunteers working what the summer students do now,” she explains. “It’s really a very valuable asset to the site.”
Funds from provincial gaming revenue are awarded under the Community Gaming Grant Program.
The Government of British Columbia contributed $135 million last year in gaming grants for eligible community programs and services, according to the news release.