District of Sooke funds local groups

Biannual annual grants handed out to seven groups, including Transition Sooke

A program that teaches people to live a more resilient life and regain skills lost over the past decade are among seven grants awarded to community group by Sooke council.

“In The Great Reskilling Project we aim to educate people and inspire them to make changes to their lives,” said Jeff Bateman, president of the Sooke Transition Town Society.

The project, which runs through July, brings attention to skills that are not discussed by other organizations in Sooke, like cycling, green building, permaculture and waste reduction through recycling, he added.

District council awarded Sooke Transition $1,200 to help run the program under its biannual grant program. Other successful recipients include Harmony Project, $7,000; Rotary Club, $3,000; Scouts Canada, $5,000; Sooke Saltwater Series, $3,500; Sooke Region Community Health Network, $7,000; and Sooke River Bluegrass Festival, $2,650.

Biannual grants, also known as B grants, are designed for one-time, short-term projects. The district budgets $50,000 a year for B grants.

Last fall, the district grant program came under fire with arts group over the doling  out of funds under the annual grant program.

“Some of those groups have been getting money for a very long time,” said Coun. Kerrie Reay, chair of the community grants committee.

“The [annual] grants were never meant to be indefinite. It’s right in the policy and everyone gets that policy when they fill out the grant application.”

A second round of biannual grants will be handed out this fall, along with annual grants.

As for this spring’s biannual grants, Reay said she was pleased with both the quality of applications and the outcome.