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Vancouver Foundation extends Surrey Neighbourhood Small Grants application deadline
May 2, 2013 -- Vancouver Foundation announced today that it has extended the application deadline for its Neighbourhood Small Grants (NSG) program in Surrey to May 31, 2013.
The Neighbourhood Small Grants program provides residents with grants of up to $1,000 to implement powerful ideas that bring people together, build a greater sense of community and strengthen connections at the neighbourhood level.
“Over the last two years, we’ve received numerous creative ideas for Neighbourhood Small Grants from Surrey residents,” said Faye Wightman, President and CEO of Vancouver Foundation, which funds the program. “Surrey has so many distinctive neighbourhoods with their own unique character and demographic make-up that we wanted to make sure we included as many residents as possible in our Neighbourhood Small Grants program.”
Decisions on which projects are funded are made by resident committees, which encourage local solutions, build connections between neighbours, and engage people from all backgrounds in the life of their community.
Since the NSG program was launched in 1999, hundreds of innovative, resident-driven ideas have been funded in communities across metro Vancouver. These range from simple initiatives like community gardens, street parties and movie nights, to more novel engagement approaches such as hosting story-telling, canning and origami workshops.
In 2011, Vancouver Foundation’s NSG program was expanded to include the Whalley area of Surrey. This year, the North Surrey communities of Bridgeview, Guildford, Johnson Heights and Fleetwood were also included in the program.
“Surrey is made up of long-term residents and new immigrants. Expanding the Neighbourhood Small Grants program in Surrey gives residents a platform to reach out to their neighbours and strengthen community bonds,” said Joyce Fan, Manager of Oak Avenue Neighbourhood Hub Society, which administers the NSG program in Surrey.
Approximately 70 NSG projects were funded in Surrey over the last two years, including neighbourhood historical walks, a street basketball tournament, and a lantern festival, among others.
Surrey resident Kimberly Wood, for example, received a $1,000 NSG grant last year to teach local children about deaf culture. Kimberly herself is deaf. So is her partner, and two of her four children. Kimberly was concerned that her children were having difficulty communicating with other kids in the neighbourhood, so she applied for a grant to hold a week-long workshop on deaf culture called Hands-On Fun Week.
Thirty kids attended the workshop last summer to learn what it’s like to be deaf (with a little help from earplugs), how to sign simple phrases, how deaf people listen to music, and much more. The week-long workshop culminated in a neighbourhood barbeque attended by 100 residents. The workshop was so popular that Kimberly is thinking of running it again.
When Tricia Keith and her family moved to a new housing development in Whalley, they felt the area needed some inspiration and a little colour to better reflect the character of the new families in their new community.
With an NSG grant, and a few community donations, Tricia, her husband and her friend Tracy Hetherington designed and sketched two six-foot-high, free-standing portable murals featuring positive messages of hope that could be displayed on each neighbours’ lawn.
The “Host a Hope” murals were painted at an annual neighbourhood block party last fall and are now displayed proudly in their community. They continue to connect local residents and welcome new ones to the neighbourhood, and are a colourful reminder of the goals of NSG – to empower residents to build stronger, more connected neighbourhoods in metro Vancouver.
More Neighbourhood Small Grants stories can be found on the NSG website at http://neighbourhoodsmallgrants.ca
With almost 1,500 funds, and assets of more than $814 million, Vancouver Foundation is Canada’s largest community foundation. Since it was founded in 1943, Vancouver Foundation, in partnership with its donors, has distributed more than $917 million to thousands of community projects and programs.