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Grant program helps build strong neighbourhoods

The deadline is approaching for Round 2 of a grant program that aims to strengthen New Westminster neighbourhoods.

The deadline is approaching for Round 2 of a grant program that aims to strengthen New Westminster neighbourhoods.

The Vancouver Foundation's neighbourhood small grants program is designed to help community members come up with creative ways to strengthen their neighbourhoods through activities such as book exchanges, community gardens, intergen-erational storytelling projects and street parties. The program offers grants of $50 to $500 to groups of neighbours who want to work together on small projects to enhance their neighbourhoods socially, physically or culturally.

Maylen Crespo, who is coordinating the program through Family Services of Greater Vancouver, notes that 16 projects were funded for the first round of grants this summer. They included five community block parties, a Ramadan event, a summer fun day, and a community music and art gathering.

The Vancouver Foundation runs the program, which began in 1999. Family Services of Greater Vancouver is hosting the pilot project in New Westminster.

"The focus is on bringing communities together," Crespo wrote in an email to The Record. "It does help that ideas are endorsed by at least two residents."

The deadline to apply for the second (and final) round of grants for 2012 is Monday, Sept. 17; the projects must be complete by Feb. 28, 2013. A 12-member resident advisory committee makes decisions on the grants.

A total of $20,000 is available in 2012 for programs in New Westminster.

Events must be free of charge to all participants.

People can contact coordinator Maylen Crespo at mcrespo@fsgv.ca or apply online at www.neighbourhood smallgrants.ca/ new-westminster.

tmcmanus@royalcityrecord.com

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