Airdrie community organizations and programs can now apply for a funding boost through an increase to the Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) fund.
On Sept. 18, 2015, the provincial government announced a $10 million increase to the program, which provides funds to offices that offer initiatives such as support services for children, parent-child development activities or counseling services.
Airdrie’s chunk of the increase – $391,579 – will be split between funding for community agencies and funding for community research conducted by the City of Airdrie. In total, $246,579 will be available for funding for community organizations and programs.
“There’s a gap in social data around some of those social needs that will help our FCSS agencies build their programs,” said Clay Aragon, social planner with the City of Airdrie.
“What administration is proposing is that part of that funding we’ll need for some research studies that will support FCSS agencies.
“The other component is to use it again for innovative projects and capacity building, for (FCSS agencies) to develop their capacities in the long term.”
According to Aragon, the research portion of the allocation was predicated by feedback provided by FCSS agencies requesting training “they felt was important to provide best practices.”
Applications were made available for funding as of Jan. 20. The application deadline is Feb. 19, and funding recommendations will be made to council in March. Funds must be utilized by Dec. 31.
“It’s great timing, the economy the way it is,” Mayor Peter Brown said.
“We’ve been lacking funding since 2009. I’m glad the Province has stepped up and given us a bit more.”
Denisa Sanness, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of Airdrie, said the FCSS funding would enable the organization to implement new pilot programs. One program, an education and employment initiative, would aim to help youth transition to adulthood by providing work experience and other supports.
“It’s great we’re getting an increase to funding,” she said.
“To receive funding, you have to have an established program. If we are successful, it gives us an important (boost).
“Then, we can roll it into our 2017 application.”
Sanness said the funding allocated to research to be conducted by the City of Airdrie could be beneficial to community organizations.
“I think the information that is going to be collected will be (helpful). We’re youth driven and youth focused, and that (information will help) to get a better idea of the needs in the community,” she said.
“That information is quite valuable.”
Council will approve funding for FCSS projects in March.