Community group awaits funding news

The Flin Flon Neighbourhood Revitalization Corporation (FFNRC) has questions after learning the future of its main funding source is uncertain.

Terms for the funding source – the provincial Neighbourhood Renewal Fund – have changed in the past 18 months.

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“Originally, there was a dedicated amount to each community that had an NRC in it and the local NRC would be the voice in determining how that fund would be distributed. That program was suspended, but was reinstated last fall,” said Laurence Gillespie, executive director of the FFNRC.

“Then, it was suspended again and reactivated again this spring. There are some concerns that there have been many applications that haven’t received a response,” he said.

While the FFNRC did apply for grants through the program, no grants were received.

“There’s a bit of a question mark over the long-term status of the NRF, as far as Flin Flon is concerned. We’re trying to get some clarity on that,” said Gillespie.

The news comes at an already unstable time for neighbourhood revitalization corporations around Manitoba.

A major funding source – the Neighbourhoods Alive! program – was placed under review and frozen before starting back up in 2017.

Up until last year, the FFNRC ran two grant programs for Flin Flon residents – a fix-up grant for home improvements and a small grants program for community groups.

Last year, the fix-up grant program was terminated.

“Right now we’re focusing on the small grants,” said Gillespie, adding that enough funding still exists to continue FFNRC programming, including community beautification, events at Culture Days and others.

“The Government of Manitoba has continued to fund basic operation of the office, but it’s other programs we’re involved with that we’re seeking more clarity on.”

As for the future of the FFNRC and similar groups throughout Manitoba, Gillespie is unsure but optimistic.

“There’s still some uncertainty. We’re somewhat mystified with regard to the whole Neighbourhood Renewal Fund thing,” he said.

“We thought, in the spring, there was definitely going to be some funding directed towards Flin Flon for the projects we submitted applications for. There are some concerns, but of course, it’s a review process and that can slow things down. There’s still an element of uncertainty, no question about that,” said Gillespie.

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