Innisfail Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys and Girls Club programs lose funding

Two programs aimed at helping young central Albertans will no longer receive essential funding.

Innisfail’s Big Brothers Big Sisters and Boys & Girls Club programs are losing funding due to a decrease in provincial funding, identified community need and a new strategic direction, Youth HQ announced Thursday.

The loss of funding will impact 205 youths who are accessing the services provided in Innisfail.

“My child has been attending Boys & Girls Club programs for many years, and looks forward to it every week. It’s had such a positive impact on him – not just the friendships, but the relationships with the leaders, and the joint activities with other clubs. We’ll definitely miss having this in Innisfail,” said parent Melody McKnight.

Both Big Brothers Big Sisters and Boys & Girls Club each lost $24,600 of core funding support.

Big Brothers Big Sisters will continue to operate its community-based mentoring program and the adult supported in-school mentoring program, however, the teen mentoring programs will be discontinued.

The Boys & Girls Club will discontinue all community-based programs in Innisfail. Families will be able to access programs offered out of neighbouring Red Deer County locations in Bowden, Spruce View, Penhold and Springbrook, and will continue to be able to access programs and services through Camp Alexo.

Youth HQ, which co-ordinates both Big Brothers Big Sisters and Boys & Girls Club programs in Innisfail, is now seeking to secure these needed funds through other sources.

“We remain committed to serving the children and families in Innisfail, but we are limited by this reduced capacity to continue to provide and grow our present level of service,” said Dawn Flanagan, acting executive director for Youth HQ.

The Boys & Girls Club Flex Your Head program operating out of St. Marguerite School will continue to the end of its scheduled program calendar in February 2020.

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