Local youth non-profit receives funding for expansion

Funds for local children

UPDATE: 4:50 p.m.

Following the publishing of Castanet's story, the provincial government has said the Cariboo Chilcotin Child Development Centre received $220,000 for its large-scale facility renovation.

The non-profit organization delivers youth mental health and substance-use services in the Cariboo region.

They are one of six non-profit organizations receiving a combined total of $833,293 as part of B.C.'s 2020-21 capital projects community gaming grants, "to help them deliver mental health, substance use, and well-being programs for young people."

ORIGINAL: 3:50 p.m.

The provincial government held a Zoom press conference Thursday to announce some of the recipients of their community gaming grants, which included a non-profit in Williams Lake.

The community gaming grants were introduced by the provincial government in 2017, and since then, grants have been given to 285 non-profits in 92 communities across B.C.

The total grant funding for 2021 is the same as last year – $140 million.

One of the organizations involved in Thursday's announcement is the Cariboo Chilcotin Child Development Centre.

Vanessa Riplinger, executive director of the non-profit, said the grant money would go towards a gathering place, smudging room and kitchen at their Williams Lake facility.

“The trauma from the 2017 wildfires is resurfacing as many COVID-19 lockdowns are triggering our children, youth and their families,” Riplinger said

“The gathering place will build new capacity to respond to the increased demands for service ... Having a safe, accessible venue to access services and build community is more essential now than ever.”

While the total amount of these grants has remained the same since last year, Minister of Municipal Affairs Josie Osborne said the province has allowed more “flexibility” for non-profits to qualify for the grants in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

One such change was allowing organizations 24 months to use the funds, rather than 12 months as has been the case in the past.

The province did not disclose the amount of the grant that went to the Cariboo Chilcotin Child Development Centre during Thursday's 20-minute online press conference.

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