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Rec funding to even the playing field for families facing financial barriers

Posted on March 14, 2024 by Sunny South News

By Erika Mathieu
Sunny South News

Budget 2024 has earmarked funds to facilitate more equitable participation in sports and recreation for children in Alberta whose families face financial barriers. 

MLA for Cardston-Siksika and Minister of Tourism and Sport, Joseph Schow, recently noted that Budget 2024 if passed would support sport and recreation opportunities for children where cost may be a barrier. 

If passed, $8 million in funding would be allocated to the Every Kid Can Play (EKCP) Program. 

Schow said during the Province’s announcement on March 5, “Sport and recreation opportunities should be affordable and accessible for all, especially young children and youth. An important part of growing up, sport teaches teamwork, builds confidence and promotes healthy lifestyles that can last well into adulthood. I’m proud Alberta’s government is supporting families with affordable access to sport, by ensuring the Every Kid Can Play program is available to those who are most in need.”

The EKCP program allows eligible Alberta families to apply to KidSport Alberta to receive support in offsetting registration fees with respect to sports and recreational programming and activities. 

Executive Director of the Cerebral Palsy Association in Alberta, Joanne Dorn commented on the ways in which ECKP Program funding will further support adaptive recreation furthering inclusivity. 

“Through sports, children can discover their strength, redefine limits and inspire us all with their determination and spirit. Sports programs for children of all abilities are not only about empowerment, resilience and breaking boundaries, they also catalyze social inclusion, breaking down barriers and affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every child. We would like to thank the Alberta government for helping us create a life without limits by supporting the children we serve throughout the province,” said Dorn in a March 5 media release. 

In addition to helping out eligible families, various eligible provincial and community non-profit organizations can also apply for grant funding to increase access to sport and recreation programs. According to the Province, in 2023, the program impacted over 8,500 children by helping to offset recreation and sports cost for their families, as well as 50 community-level programs with a child or youth focus. 

This announcement of the Province’s partnership with the EKCP program will build upon the government’s 2022 investment into the Return to Play program, this $4.5 million program was designed to limit financial barriers and increase access to sports and recreation amongst families in Alberta.

More information on the initiative can be found at https://albertasport.ca/programs/every-kid-can-play-program/ 

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