A small plant sprouts from a pile of coins.

B.C. Government invests in growing minds / Image via Micheile Henderson on Unsplash

Six BC non-profit and not-for-profit organizations received a total of $833,293 to support mental health, substance use, and wellbeing programs for BC youth.

This funding comes from the BC Government Capital Project Grants, part of the Community Gaming Grants program, which provides $140 million annually to BC non-profits and not-for-profits supporting their communities.

In a news release on January 21, BC’s Minister of Municipal Affairs Josie Osbourne expressed the need for these grants:

“Young people are experiencing increased stress and mental health challenges as a result of the pandemic, and we know supporting their wellbeing is vital at this time. By providing capital project funding to community organizations that deliver mental health programs, we are contributing to the wellbeing of children and youth by improving local facilities and helping more young people access the care they need.”

The organizations that received the funding are:

  • McCreary Centre Society in Vancouver
  • The Cariboo Chilcotin Child Development Centre Association in Williams Lake
  • Canadian Mental Health Association, Cowichan Valley Branch in Duncan
  • Take a Hike, Youth at Risk Foundation in Vancouver
  • Sea to Sky Community Services Society in Squamish; and
  • Onesky Community Resources Society in Kelowna

The McCreary Society (MCC) used their grant to install a shower, change room, and washer and dryer in their youth facility.

Annie Smith, the executive director of MCC, said, “This grant is so exciting because it can offer young people the ability to take care of their basic needs in a safe and familiar space. Those basics of being able to have a shower and do laundry are key to building positive mental health.”

The Take a Hike, Youth at Risk Foundation provides young people with public education and mental health services while connecting them with the outdoors. The organization’s funding went towards a new 24-passenger bus to aid in the continuation of those services.

And in Duncan, just a ten-minute walk from VIU’s Cowichan Campus, the Canadian Mental Health Association’s (CMHA) Cowichan Valley Branch received more than $121k to go towards COVID-friendly equipment upgrades and modifications. It is hoped that these upgrades will meet the increased demand for services to youth and adults.

Lise Haddock, executive director of CMHA, said, “With the support of this funding, the outreach teams of the Canadian Mental Health Association-Cowichan Valley Branch will be able to replace aging vehicles to carry out the work of connecting and supporting homeless and at-risk youth and adults in the community.”

“Team members support street-entrenched youth by arranging medical and counselling appointments, bringing them to the Open Door Youth Services Centre for showers and laundry facilities, offering information on community resources and distributing much-needed food, clothing, and first aid supplies.”

Sheila Malcolmson, MLA for the electoral district of Nanaimo and minister of mental health and addictions, said, “COVID-19 has made it even more important to support community organizations with infrastructure so they can best support their clients.”

“Our grants will support vital youth service providers with service delivery and facility upgrades so they are accessible, effective, and as welcoming as possible. We’re thankful for their work connecting with vulnerable youth and providing the care they need.”

Among the other organizations, funding went towards facility renovations, COVID-19 modifications, and mental health/substance use programs.

To learn about applying for future Capital Project Grants, visit https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/sports-culture/gambling-fundraising/gaming-grants/capital-project-grants.

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