Provincial ministry awards grants to promote inclusion

Fourteen community-based projects in BC are benefiting from $450,000 in government funding to increase accessibility and community inclusion.

The winning projects were announced by BC Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction on which is United Nations’ International Day of Persons with Disabilities (December 3).

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“We all appreciate the diverse range of skills and experiences that British Columbians with disabilities bring to our communities, our workplaces and our lives, stated Nicholas Simons, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “Over 20 per cent of British Columbians live with some form of a disability and the projects we’re announcing today promote inclusion.”

In May 2020, as part of the province’s ongoing commitment to increasing accessibility and improving community inclusion, the government announced funding for community-based accessibility projects. Out of 72 applicants, 14 have been selected to receive grants ranging from $10,000 to $40,000, depending on the size and scope of the project, according to a media release from the ministry.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us all how easy it is to feel isolated,” stated Dan Coulter, parliamentary secretary for accessibility. “One of our priorities remains supporting projects that encourage inclusive and accessible community participation.”

Successful applicants include projects that range from wheelchair basketball and deafblind intervenor services to accessible theatre and online education programs.

“It was an honour to be on the accessibility project grant review team this year,” stated Elizabeth Lalonde, board director, Disability Alliance BC. “I learned so much about the diversity of organizations in British Columbia, many of which are grassroots, working to make a positive difference in the lives of people with disabilities. There are so many important projects that deserve support and recognition, and I am excited to follow their progress over the next year.”

The United Nations first observed the International Day of Persons with Disabilities in 1992. One in five Canadian adults have a disability.The successful projects include:

Kootenay Brain Injury Association - Whole Health Community Teams

Cinevolution Media Arts Society - Accessible Online Presentation Platform

The British Columbia Lions Society for Children with Disabilities - Compass Program Pilot Project

BC Wheelchair Basketball Society - Connect 2 BC Wheelchair Basketball

The Disability Foundation - Bridging Entry to the Workforce: A youth leadership initiative

Learning Disabilities Society of Greater Vancouver - RISE TEAM

St. John Society (British Columbia and Yukon) - Community Transfer Program

Wavefront Centre for Communication Accessibility - Deafblind Intervenor Services

Stroke Recovery Association of BC - Young Stroke Survivors of BC: LEAP

Visible Art Society - Digital media and captioning community learning

VocalEye Descriptive Arts Society - VocalEye Almost Live Zoom Program

Embrace Art Foundation - Artist to Facilitator

Intrepid Theatre Company Society - Theatre for all: Building access for artists and audiences

LDABC The Learning Curve Society - Virtual Learning Accessibility Project

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