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Community Spotlight: Social Planning Grants
The City of Kamloops' Social Planning Council (SPC) has funded community-led initiatives for over two decades. Through these grants, the SPC has supported the development, growth, and expansion of a wide-range of community-based initiatives and projects. We've funded accessibility initiatives, music programs, community food programs, recreation programs, tech innovation, and housing initiatives, just to name a few.
Each year, community organizations apply for funding under four categories: seed grants, special projects, special capital expenditures, and operational grants. The SPC reviews the applications and makes recommendations to City Council, which gives final approval. In 2016, we supported 14 organizations, which received a total of $65,218 in grants. The following paragraphs highlight four of these projects:
Building community through teaching and tech
2016 was a big year for Kamloops Makerspace. Using a Social Planning Grant, Makerspace purchased a laser cutter. When we spoke to Vaughn Warren, coordinator of the Makerspace Design Lab, he said that "the Social Planning Grant changed everything. It has given people access to a technology that would have otherwise been impossible for people to use."
The laser cutter has been so popular that Makerspace has successfully grown its membership – everyone wants to try it out! Organizations have been able to use the laser cutter to create prototypes and experiments, scale models, and construct other creative pieces. In addition, the laser cutter is serviced and maintained by a growing base of trained Makerspace members. A Laser 101 course is offered for free to members every month, and it empowers them with the basic training required to operate the cutter.
The laser cutter has also led to growing partnerships with Twin Rivers Education Centre School, the Christian Online School, Four Directions Storefront School, Skeetchestn School, Girl Guides, adult learning, the Thompson-Nicola Regional District Library, Hot Night in the City, the Community Arts Council, and many more.
Throughout the year, Makerspace hosted laser-cutting workshops and open houses where local organizations and members of the arts community were invited to learn how use the machine. The 120-watt laser has also been the focus of many of Makerspace's open house Hack Nights. To date, Makerspace has hosted 85 consecutive, free Wednesday open houses to ensure everyone in the community can access its resources, participate in tours, and receive project support.
Supporting young musicians' pursuits
With funding from a Social Planning Grant, the Kamloops Interior Summer School of Music (KISSM) launched the Whole Note music program in 2016. This community-based initiative is the first of its kind in Kamloops and will support young musicians (grades 7 to 10) who are interested in pursuing music but cannot afford lessons. The Whole Note program provides participants with 10 private music lessons, a full scholarship to the three week KISSM program, facilitated community music engagement, a professional photo, and a professional biography.
The program's founder, Kim Mangan, explained her inspiration for creating the program through her personal connection to music. At age 13, Kim received an Arts and Legacy Grant from the City. The grant gave her the confidence to pursue music – she was a clarinet player at the time – and "shaped her commitment to advocating for music education for youth." Her passion for affordable lessons led her to found Whole Note, and she emphasized the important role the Social Planning Grant has played in the program. In addition to supporting its development, the funding allowed Mangan to create a website and visual identity for the program, both of which have been essential for leveraging additional support for the project. She emphasized that the program "wouldn't have gone forward without the planning and communicating that took place because of the grant."
Improving accessibility to enhance the gallery experience
The Arnica Artist Run Centre Society improved accessibility to its art exhibitions for people with visual and hearing impairment through the use of interactive tablet technology. For example, written materials were translated into audio files, which makes more information accessible to the visually impaired. With this new technology, visitors are able to magnify images of the artworks on exhibition, look up information related to the artists and their work, and take descriptive audio tours of the exhibits. An articulated arm allows wheelchair users to adjust the tablet as needed.
The project has enriched and expanded the art gallery experience for a diversity of visitors. Terryl Atkins, President of the Board for Arnica, affirmed that "this technology will greatly enable access and enjoyment of art for those who may feel left out of cultural activities through sensory impairments."
Providing crisis and victim services for survivors of assault and violence
The Kamloops Sexual Assault Counselling Centre (KSACC) initiated its Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) with the support of the Social Planning Grant and other community partners. The team, in partnership with Interior Health, the RCMP, and other community partners, will help ensure survivors of sexual assault have immediate community support services while accessing Royal Inland Hospital.
Members of SART will support survivors throughout the entire time they are at the hospital and will strive to help survivors stay connected to services once they leave the hospital. Therefore, the project is helping to ensure survivors of sexual assault can access community expert support services immediately following a crisis. Agency Coordinator Charlene Eden said the start-up of SART would not have been possible without the Social Planning Grant. She further explained that, with support from the funding, the team is helping to fill a service gap by providing an essential service to the community. The very existence of the program means that there will be greater wraparound of services for survivors, which can facilitate a quicker start for the healing process.
By working toward providing after-hours crisis response and ensuring community awareness, KSACC and its partners are working towards mitigating the lasting impacts of sexual violence and decreasing sexual violence as a whole.
While we have only highlighted a few of the successes from 2016, there were other inspiring projects going on throughout the community. View the full list of funded projects from 2016.
Going into 2017, the Social Planning Grants will distribute $70,416 to 12 organizations. 2017's Social Planning Grants will support:
- Boys and Girls Club of Kamloops
- Interior Community Services
- Kamloops and District Elizabeth Fry Society
- Kamloops Community YMCA-YWCA
- Kamloops Family Resources Society
- Kamloops Interior Summer School of Music
- Kamloops Makerspace
- Kamloops Sexual Assault Counselling Centre
- Kamloops Society for Alcohol and Drug Services (Phoenix Centre)
- PacificSport Interior BC
- Thompson Shuswap Master Gardeners
- Volunteer Kamloops
Join us on Family Day!
On Family Day, the City of Kamloops will transform the Tournament Capital Centre (TCC) into a festival for families with children of all ages! The 5th Annual Family Day Festival will take place on Monday, February 13 (a statutory holiday in BC), from 10 am – 2 pm, and the event is free. We will also host a free swim at the TCC from 1 pm – 4 pm.
Community organizations and businesses will bring a wide range of family-focused festivities into one place. Festival goers will have an opportunity to join a princess tea party, get creative with arts and crafts, have their faces painted, experience live performances, learn about all things science, practice karate, and try new sports. With close to 50 booths and activities, there will be something for everyone.
In addition to music, games, sports, and crafts, there will be opportunities to win great prizes. Families can pick up "experience passports" at the door and all completed passports will be entered in a draw to win an Annual Family Pass to the Wildlife Park.
In addition, the City of Kamloops booth will have a draw to win a six month full facility pass to the TCC and there will be a chance to win more prizes: Wildlife Park passes, family memberships to the Kamloops Art Gallery, skate passes, swim passes, and City of Kamloops swag. If that wasn't enough, in celebration of Canada's 150th birthday, the 150th person to walk through the door at the TCC will win some great Canada 150 merchandise!
The Kamloops Food Bank will be accepting donations for non-perishable food items at the door.
We invite you to celebrate your Family with us! See you at the TCC (910 McGill Road) on Monday February 13th.
8th Annual Heap the Honda Children's Book Drive
The 8th annual Heap the Honda Children's Book Drive, sponsored by Kamloops Honda in partnership with Literacy in Kamloops, takes place January 7 - 28, 2017. The goals of this project are to increase book ownership in all homes and encourage a love of reading.
Over the past seven years, more than 75,000 children's books have been donated. Throughout the year, Volunteer Coordinator Faith Bailey and her husband, Al organize teams of volunteers to sort, clean, and label books. Volunteers distribute the books to Bright Red Bookshelves at 22 school and community locations. More than 500 volunteer hours are committed to this project each year.
LinK invites the community to launch the Heap the Honda Children's Book Drive at Kamloops Honda on Saturday, January 7 at 10.00 am. New or gently used children's books can be dropped off at Kamloops Honda from January 7 to 28. Other drop-off locations include the North Kamloops and Kamloops branches of the Thompson Nicola Regional District Library System, the Henry Grube Education Centre, and any Bright Red Bookshelf location.
The Heap the Honda Children's Book Drive is just one of the many literacy initiatives taking place in Kamloops in January in support of National Family Literacy Day, which is celebrated each year on January 27. When families play and read together, they learn and have fun together.
For more information, visit literacyinkamloops.ca
Bright Red Bookshelf Community Locations:
ASK Wellness, BIG Little Science Centre, Boys and Girls Club of Kamloops, Children Who Witness Abuse Program, Downtown Kamloops YMCA-YWCA, Interior Community Services, Kamloops Aboriginal Friendship Society, Kamloops Child Development Centre, Kamloops Food Bank, Kamloops Immigrant Services, Kamloops YMCA-YWCA Child Care Resource and Referral, Salvation Army Family Centre, Secwépemc Child and Family Services Agency, and Tournament Capital Centre
Bright Red Bookshelf School Locations:
AE Perry Elementary, Arthur Hatton Elementary, Beattie Elementary, Bert Edwards School of Science and Technology, Kay Bingham Elementary, Marion Schilling Elementary, and Parkcrest Elementary
Tour the Town
The City of Kamloops has created map-based web applications to showcase our community. These applications link photos, map locations, and background information to create an interactive, digital resource that will help residents and visitors learn more about Kamloops on their computers or mobile phones.
These maps and photos provide something for everyone. They are a great digital resource for visitors and residents looking for new experiences and offer the public access to a record of our cultural assets. The City invites you to take a public art tour, learn about our heritage sites, visit our memorial benches, or take a virtual stroll through our parks. See the sights here:
» Heritage: | Through this app's creation, the Kamloops Heritage Commission and the Kamloops Museum & Archives are proud to share information about local heritage properties with residents and visitors.
» Public Art: | The public art map shows photos and the locations of stand alone public art installations and building murals. When available, the artists' names and dates of commission are included.
» Parks: | Kamloops is a popular destination for hiking and biking. Online maps and photos are a great digital resource for park visitors.
» Memorials: | Through the City's Memorial Bench Program, people can pay tribute to their loved ones by purchasing memorial benches in parks or along trails and walkways. Photos of these benches, the plaques attached to them, and the viewscape they provide are now accessible to all.
What Does Food Mean to You?
This video highlights one of the City's most successful community partnerships. The Kamloops Food Policy Council (KFPC) has been building community capacity for twenty years and has worked closely with the City, Interior Health, and citizens to promote food security. Not only has the KFPC incubated urban agriculture and food security projects in Kamloops, they were a key community partner in the creation of the City's Food and Urban Agriculture Plan (FUAP). They continue to support the implementation of the FUAP through various community food action programs such as Community Gardens, Community Kitchens, and the Gleaning Abundance Program (GAP). The City is proud to belong to this collaborative network.
Stories from Westsyde Pool and Fitness Centre
Anyone who has walked by Westsyde Pool lately may have noticed things are looking a little bit different. On Friday, October 14, the pool's roof was lifted off, meaning that demolition is almost complete and reconstruction is underway.
» Read more...
2017 Budget Meetings
Each year, the City of Kamloops hosts public meetings regarding the City's budget to give citizens an overview and hear their comments and suggestions. By sharing your priorities and participating in the City's budget process, you can help create a strong future for Kamloops.
The City wants to hear your ideas to plan for the future. Residents are invited to a round table discussion with City staff and Councillors on Tuesday, November 15, 2016, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm, in the Parkside Lounge in Sandman Centre to provide feedback and ideas to be considered in the supplemental budget and the Five-year Financial Plan.
The planning process is iterative, and may take multiple years to implement. The City wants to hear your ideas now so that staff can investigate to determine if they can feasibly be incorporated into the Five-year Financial Plan. The supplemental budget list will be built from this meeting.
Input will be compiled and presented to Council, which will then prioritize the ideas. The top priorities will be costed out and presented back to Council to see if they can potentially be added to the budget in the next few years.
Background information is available at www.kamloops.ca/2017budget.
So let's talk. Your participation will influence the process. Mayor, Council, and City managers will develop a broader understanding of community interests, concerns, and ideas. These factors are considered and weighed before final deliberation of the budget and the Five‑year Financial Plan.