Soccer players. (Pexels.com)
It’s a win for sports groups across B.C.
The province is giving them a leg up by providing $1.5 million to help with fixed costs during the pandemic.
Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Lisa Beare made the announcement on Tuesday afternoon.
B.C. has more than 4,100 local sports organizations and Beare says many of them are facing financial challenges due to the absence of registration fees, event revenues, and sponsorships.
“We know that without support, these local organizations will need help to stay established in their communities. There’s been an incredible commitment from the sport community to be able to adapt and to be safe right now because we know how important sport is to our collective wellness.”
Beare said the province wants people of all ages, backgrounds and levels of ability to be able to gain the physical and mental benefits sport offers.
“People in the sport community have felt the effects of COVID-19 profoundly,” she added. “This funding will help local organizations pay their bills and keep our communities active.”
The province says rural and remote communities, as well as underrepresented populations – such as Indigenous peoples, girls and women, low-income individuals, persons with disabilities and newcomers – “are disproportionately affected by a reduction in physical activity opportunities as a result of COVID-19.”
“Many amateur sport clubs in British Columbia are volunteer based and rely on membership fees, events, tournaments and competitions to fund sport activities in their communities,” said Charlene Krepiakevich, CEO, viaSport. “COVID-19 has especially impacted their ability to do that. This funding will help local clubs at the most financial risk to maintain operations until, and as, their communities and facilities can slowly reopen.”
Canadian Heritage is also investing $3.4 million in sports organizations in B.C.
The funding is part of the $72-million COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations, and will benefit B.C.’s provincial, disability and multi-sport organizations.
Funding will be distributed through viaSport to ensure support is provided across the sport sector.
“This funding is great news for sports clubs in communities all over B.C.,” said Marty Hall, president and coach, Carnarvon Baseball. “Sport is good for everyone’s health and wellness and is a source of fun for so many children.”
As of July 27, 2020, 54 sport-specific plans to rebound from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic had been completed by provincial sport organizations.
- 50 of those are summer and fall sports. Organizations are ready to welcome participants back to activities safely, meaning more than 500,000 British Columbians are able to return to sport.
- Local sports organizations include baseball and soccer teams, gymnastics and swimming.
- As of April, the province, through viaSport, provided $10.5 million in accelerated funding to provincial, disability and multi-sport organizations.
- The province has extended legal protection to amateur sport organizations, many of which are run by volunteers, so they cannot be held liable for damages caused by exposure to COVID-19.