Appeared in Kings County Record - October 28th, 2016
By: Laura MacInnis
KINGS COUNTY • The Sussex Area Community Foundation held one of its biggest grant nights ever Wednesday night handing out 64,000 to local charities and community projects.
Thanks to the money coming from the PotashCorp community fund aimed at revitalizing the region after the mine closure the foundation was able to contribute to 16 projects.
The recipient of the PotashCorp grant itself was the Penobsquis Community Enrichment Committee. The committee, made up of volunteer members of the community that the mine is located in, have worked over the years to revitalize the recreational and social opportunities for residents, including purchasing the W.I. Hall to turn into a community hall and creating a playground with areas for ball hockey and other sports.
PotashCorp’s $375,000 donation to the community that the foundation will dole out in the coming years will contribute five scholarships a year for the next four years, and grants to charities and not for profits for the next ten years with an eye to growing food security, education and training, arts and culture, health and wellness, community building and environmental stewardship.
The new Junior Achievers Club in Sussex was another major grant recipient from the regular foundation grants handed out that night. Facilitated through the Sussex District Chamber of Commerce and Sussex Regional High School students are taking part in an 18-week company program where the group is asked to come up with a business plan to sell a product in the community.
“We had an incredible turnout the first night. We had 24 students turn up and we had lots of great ideas,” said Dave Evans who runs the program. “We also have the Hyslops from Mrs. Dunsters volunteering their time to give us help. They are former achievers themselves.”
“In that spirit of looking at all the ways PotashCorp is investing in helping the community, including economic development, the foundation looked at a project like this that has an entrepreneurial spirit,” said Miriam Verschoor, executive director of the foundation.
Amongst the other recipients were many more youth focused projects as well as programs for seniors.
The Sussex Skating Club received a grant to help grow its new Sledge CanSkate program- the first of its kind in all of Canada.
Skating coach Sharon Miller said the club was inspired to put on sledge skating after a local boy with cerebral palsy saw Sidney Crosby playing sledge hockey on TV. They have now grown to six kids in the program.
“Each child has their own needs on the ice and we can buy aids to help them. In the past we had physiotherapists come in to tailor each aid to each specific child and that is a big help,” Miller said.
She said other club’s across Canada have already heard about the Sussex program and have turned to the local coaches for assistance in creating their own sledge programs in Saskatchewan and Alberta.
Also receiving funds from this round of grants were two projects at the Sussex Middle School. One was for the breakfast club to buy two new ovens, the other for the addition of new seating and lighting for the multi-sensory room designed to act as a calming atmosphere for students.
Literature was also on the agenda this year.
Fog Lit received a grant to hold the Good Fit Program in Sussex.
The program takes a class from both the Sussex Elementary and Sussex Corner Elementary and pairs students up with students from classes at the high school. The classes are bussed to the Sussex Regional Library and each pair is sent on a mission to find the perfect book.
“We tell the kids your book is out there,” said Rosalyn Hyslop. “Maybe it’s a graphic novel. Maybe it a book of facts. Doesn’t matter what it is this is just about getting kids interested in reading.”
In the same vein of inspiring readers, the foundation is also lending support to Belleisle Regional High School to purchase books for its literacy program. Since the school does not have a library books will be purchased for youth to read and hold book challenges and to run a community book exchange.
Hospice Sussex received its first ever grant from the foundation to add an extra grief counselling session each year.
The Canadian Cancer Society will use its grant to purchase wigs for area patients for free.
And the Kiwanis Nursing Home’s A Place to Call Home campaign received it’s second grant from the foundation, this time to help with the purchase of a wheel chair accessible van for residents.
The New Brunswick Federation of Music Festivals received money to bring back the Sussex music festival that gives students a chance each year to not only perform in public but receive feedback in the form of an adjudication from an expert in the field.
AX: The Sussex Arts Centre will spend its grant on upgrades to the Don Stiles Museum and The Agricultural Museum of New Brunswick received a grant to purchase new display cases for some sensitive materials.
The Kings County Family Resource Centre will use its grant to fund an infant CPR training program and Portage Atlantic got funding to buy school supplies for the at rink youth attending the rehabilitation centre. And Crosswinds Occupational Activity Centre received a grant for a Smart Board for the Workplace Essential Skills Program.