Main photo: Kerri Vallentin, skating club president, with her children Ainslie and Ashleigh; Cheryl Liberty and Ashley Nicholson from SportChek; Nathalie Trudel from Mark’s Work Wearhouse; and Ian McEwen from Canadian Tire (submitted)
[This post has been updated with a photo from the cheque presentation as well as details about the next round of funding.]
Like many community sports organizations, the Huntsville Skating Club has been hit hard by the pandemic. Some welcome relief is being providing by Canadian Tire’s JumpStart program.
The company announced in February that it would be providing an additional $12 million via its Sport Relief Fund—complementing the $8 million it had already committed in September 2020—to help sport and recreation organizations build back sport and play in Canada. Huntsville Skating Club will receive a $10,970 grant from the fund.
Due to the pandemic, the club has had to cancel its largest fundraiser, the annual Skokie Skate competition, noted club vice president, Michelle Breakenridge.
“The Huntsville Skating Club also had to adjust the program structure several times through the season to adapt to COVID-19 safety measures requiring the club to have less participants on the ice resulting in an increase in programming costs,” added Breakenridge. “We worked very hard to modify programming to ensure every child who wanted to skate had a spot in club programming. The club followed return-to-sport safety protocols to ensure safe delivery of programs and ran programming every opportunity that the Town made ice available for users.”
Late last year, Jumpstart commissioned a study by Ipsos to gauge the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on access to sport in Canada. The subsequent State of Sport Report determined that the “recreational sport ecosystem is in dire need of support.”
The Ipsos survey of just over 1,100 sport organizations across the country found that three in 10 are temporarily or indefinitely closed, six in 10 are attempting to run modified programming, and a third are bankrupt or approaching bankruptcy. If current conditions don’t change, 18 per cent, or almost one in five organizations, believe they will need to permanently close within six months, noted the report.
“We are beyond grateful to receive this news and know the positive impact it will have on sport and recreation organizations, and ultimately, on kids across the country,” said Breakenridge. “With Jumpstart’s support, we’ll be able to provide affordable programming opportunities for our youth while keeping them engaged in the sport and staying physically active.”
Ian McEwen, Canadian Tire Huntsville owner, added, “We would like to express our appreciation to customers that make donations to Jumpstart at all of our stores, so that these kind of grants are possible.”
Applications for the next round of Relief Fund grants opens June 20 for programs starting between September 1 and December 31. Applications close on August 1, 2021 and decisions will be issued on August 22. If your organization is in need of funding, visit jumpstart.canadiantire.ca.
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