The province has announced a $1.5 million local sport relief fund to support sports organizations through the pandemic.
The fund was unveiled specifically for community-based sports groups facing risk of permanent closure due to the loss of registration fees, event revenue and sponsorships and the resulting extreme financial pressure leading to risk of insolvency due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s profound effects.
According to the province, the one-time fund will help local clubs such as baseball, soccer, gymnastics and swim teams with their bills, society dues, salaries and maintenance fees and assist preparation for an eventual full return to sport. Organizations will be eligible to apply for upto $7,500 if the funding would be used to support operational and administrative needs.
Non-profit local sport organizations and those non-profit local sport organizations that exist for the sole purpose of serving underrepresented populations and have well-established sport programming with under-served populations including Indigenous people, girls and women, LGBTQ+, low-income individuals, persons with disabilities, ethnic or religious minorities, and newcomers to Canada or refugees, would be eligible for submitting applications for this program.
Under the eligibility criteria, all organizations are expected to be located in British Columbia with a focus on sport delivery at the local or community level. Organizations would also required to be not-for-profit and have a B.C. registered society or CRA charity number. For-profit organizations and those with a provincial scope of delivery are not eligible, including viaSport’s funded Provincial Sport, Disability Sport, Multi-Sport and Regional Alliance partners.
In August, B.C. moved into Phase 3 of ViaSport’s Return to Sport plan that has modified games and matches, and league play and competitions within sport cohorts similar to the return-to-school learning cohorts.
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 which basically means that more than 500,000 British Columbians are now able to return to sport, according to the province.
The application process for the local sports relief fund is open until Oct. 16, 2020.