Youth programs cut in funding freeze to Friendship Centre

A federal funding freeze has left the Red Deer Native Friendship Centre without any money for its youth programs.

A federal funding freeze has left the Red Deer Native Friendship Centre without any money for its youth programs.

Cultural Connections for Aboriginal Youth program grants were recently frozen by the federal government so that the program can be redesigned as it’s transferred to Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada from Canadian Heritage.

In the meantime, the Red Deer Native Friendship Centre has lost $89,000 in annual funding to run its after school, health, recreational and cultural programming.

The centre’s total annual operational budget is $500,000.

The centre also partners with organizations and provides cultural programs and leadership development opportunities for aboriginal and non-aboriginal youth at Red Deer College, foster care, treatment centres, and in public and separate schools that do not provide cultural events.

“It’s just such a new announcement we’re still recovering from the shock from such a complete and thorough funding freeze,” said Tanya Schur, executive director with Red Deer Native Friendship Centre, on Tuesday.

“It’s enough funding to cripple aboriginal youth programming across the country.”

Across Canada over $22 million was distributed annually to friendship centres through Cultural Connections for Aboriginal Youth.

Jeffrey Cyr, executive director of National Association of Friendship Centres in Ottawa, said the one bright spot is that the federal government does want to work together on redesigning the program to meet priorities.

“I think that is the right approach. That shows a level of understanding that if you want to do it better, you need to engage the people who the program is for. That hasn’t been the past history of this program. The unfortunate thing is it’s hurting people in the short term,” Cyr said. Hopefully quick solutions will be found and funding unfrozen, he said.

One full-time and three part-time staff with Red Deer Native Friendship Centre were laid off due to the funding freeze.

Schur said last year 77 youth participated in programming that runs 20 hours a week most of the year, and scaled back in the summer.

Right now volunteers are being mobilized, fundraisers will be planned and corporate sponsors will be sought to continue programming about five hours a week, and to operate the annual canoe trip and cultural camp.

“The unique needs of aboriginal kids aren’t going to go away. We will try our best to maintain drop-in hours for the youth so they can stay connected to workers and counsellors.”

Just Posted

One strong wind leaves years of replanting work for Red Deer parks staff

High visibility boulevards already replanted, neighbourhood work starts next year

Red Deer-area indigenous filmmakers invited to apply for $20,000 grant

Storyhive launches Indigenous Storyteller Edition

Restaurant closed after compliance team patrol

Public Safety Compliance Team checked eight bars and restaurants on Oct. 19

Red Deerians await local cannabis stores

So far 31 stores in Alberta awarded licence to operate

Rimbey RCMP seek missing man with health concerns

Has anyone seen Bill Harris of Ponka County?

WATCH: Make-A-Wish grants Star Wars loving teen’s wish

The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted Anakin Suerink’s wish in Red Deer Saturday afternoon

Local Sports: Rudy Soffo valuable to Kings on the court

When Rudy Soffo first saw the RDC basketball Kings roster he was… Continue reading

Except for 1 kick, Saints, Ravens are evenly matched

BALTIMORE — In a matchup between the league’s highest-scoring offence and top-ranked… Continue reading

Julia Louis-Dreyfus gets a top award for comedy

WASHINGTON — After a 35-year acting career and with two iconic television… Continue reading

Ricky Skaggs, Dottie West enter Country Music Hall of Fame

NASHVILLE — Bluegrass and country star Ricky Skaggs, singer Dottie West and… Continue reading

AP Exclusive: Stephen Hawking’s wheelchair, thesis for sale

LONDON — Stephen Hawking was a cosmic visionary, a figure of inspiration… Continue reading

Canada deemed U.S. a safe country for asylum seekers after internal review

OTTAWA — Canadian immigration officials have determined that the United States remains… Continue reading

Bombardier sues Mitsubishi over alleged theft of aircraft trade secrets

MONTREAL — Bombardier is suing Mitsubishi Aircraft in the United States over… Continue reading

Three strong earthquakes reported in Pacific Ocean off Vancouver Island

Three relatively strong earthquakes were recorded Sunday night in the Pacific Ocean… Continue reading

Most Read