These grants help make magic happen in New West

Family Services of Greater Vancouver wants to help New West residents bring their ideas to life.

Applications are now being accepted for the New Westminster Neighbourhood Small Grants 2020. The deadline to apply is April 9.

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“Magic happens when neighbours cross the street and team up with each other to bring an idea to life,” said a press release about the grant program. “It forms friendships, makes our streets safer and keeps us connected to others. The Neighbourhood Small Grants program help residents of any age, experience, or background take part in building community.”

The program is a partnership between the Association of Neighbourhood Houses of B.C. and Family Services of Greater Vancouver, with funds from the Vancouver Foundation.

“This program is modelled on the principles of asset-based community development; it focuses on the strengths and the idea that everyone can contribute to make your neighbourhood a much better place to live and play,” Maylen Crespo, community lead-manager at Family Services of Greater Vancouver, said in an email to the Record. “Family Services of Greater Vancouver has run the program in New Westminster since 2012, and every year people keep telling me not only how much fun they had but how they felt a real sense of opportunity and belief created in their neighbourhood and within their communities because of their projects.”

Family Services of Greater Vancouver believes everyone is a valuable member of the community and has something to share. It believes that a small contribution can have a great impact. 

Last year, New Westminster residents received $36,500 that went toward 81 projects. Past grants have gone toward a wide variety of initiatives including potlucks, barbecues, plantings of native plants and wild flowers for pollinators, murals and a plant-based community cooking program.

“We also funded festivals, music groups and art workshops, among many block parties. This year, the program seeks to prioritize projects that connect Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members, and projects led by young people age 18 to 24,” Crespo said. “True to the grassroots spirit of the program, each Neighbourhood Small Grant will be awarded by New Westminster residents themselves.”

Local volunteers review the ideas submitted and decide which ones to fund. Grants of up to $500 are available.

For more information on the program and to apply for grants, visit www.neighbourhoodsmallgrants.ca.

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