Community-based sports groups facing the risk of closing are encouraged to apply for support from the Province’s $1.5-million Local Sport Relief Fund.
Many local sport organizations are facing extreme financial pressure and risk of insolvency due to the absence of registration fees, event revenues and sponsorships. People in the sport community have felt the effects of COVID-19 profoundly, and many will see reduced access without provincial funding support.
“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 fund will help local sport clubs and organizations pay bills, society dues, salaries and/or maintenance fees while weathering the impacts of the pandemic, helping them to plan for an eventual full return to sport. The application process is open until Oct. 16, 2020.
“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, viaSport. “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.”
Rural and remote communities, as well as under-represented populations, such as Indigenous peoples, girls and women, low-income individuals, persons with disabilities and newcomers, are disproportionally impacted by a reduction in physical activity opportunities as a result of COVID-19. This funding program seeks to ensure these opportunities remain in place by providing support to local sports organizations in rural, remote and urban communities throughout B.C.
“This financial support from the provincial government for local sport organizations is really huge during these volatile times. The support will help our club, Kamloops Classic Swimming, continue ‘developing good citizens one stroke at a time,’ which is our mantra,” said Brad Dalke, head coach, Kamloops Classic Swimming. “It will ensure our staff can continue working with our athletes, ages six to 23, to maintain healthy, balanced lifestyles and good mental health in these unusual times.”
- As of Sept. 15, 67 sport-specific plans had been completed by provincial sport organizations, with 26 being updated for Phase 3 of returning to sport. This means more than 500,000 British Columbians are now able to return to sport.
- Local sports organizations include baseball and soccer teams, gymnastics and swim teams.
- This funding will ensure people of all ages, backgrounds and levels of ability are able to enjoy the physical and mental benefits sport offers.
- As of September 2020, the Province, through viaSport, provided $11 million in accelerated funding to provincial, disability and multi-sport organizations.
- Provincial sport organizations in B.C. are also being supported through a $3.9-million investment from Canadian Heritage, which was recently increased from $3.4 million. The funding is part of the $72-million COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Sport Organizations and will support B.C.’s provincial, disability and multi-sport organizations. Funding will be distributed through viaSport.
For information about the application and guidelines of the Local Sport Relief Fund, visit: