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Community sport programs help people in northern B.C. stay active

People of all ages and abilities across northern B.C. will have more opportunities to get involved in fun, community-based sport programs during the coming year through the joint federal-provincial BC Sport Participation Program (BCSPP).

“Sport has the power to connect people with their communities and build the foundation for a healthy lifestyle,” said Lisa Beare, B.C.’s Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, in a news release. “These programs will help people make new friends, improve their fitness level and try a new sport, regardless of their background or level of ability.”

The BCSPP is a partnership between the governments of Canada and British Columbia. This year, Canada and B.C. are making matched investments totalling more than $1.2 million aimed at getting more people of all abilities active in their communities and involved in a variety of sports, such as tennis, wheelchair basketball, para ice hockey and snowboarding. The funding supports sport programs, activities and coach and leadership training in communities throughout B.C.

In the North, some of the programs include:

* purchasing equipment and adding training and coaches’ resources to youth soccer programs in Williams Lake;

* introducing students in grades 1-3 to figure skating in 100 Mile House; and

* providing youth in community schools and local after-school care programs in Terrace with opportunities to learn canoeing and kayaking.

The BCSPP has two application-based grant programs administered by viaSport – the Provincial Sport Development Program (PSDP) and Community Sport Development Program (CSDP). Communities, Indigenous groups and not-for-profit organizations can apply to receive grants that help them buy equipment, train leaders, officials and coaches, and teach participants sport skills.

“Adapted sports provide invaluable opportunities for everyone to participate in inclusive sport programming, regardless of their abilities,” said Rob Stiles, programming co-ordinator, Northern Adapted Sports Association. “With the support provided by the BCSPP grant, we will be able to take specially-designed sports equipment all across northern communities to deliver have-a-go sessions that introduce students and adults alike to new ways to be physically active and socially engaged.”

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