VICTORIA – Minister of Health Terry Lake last week announced that $375,000 for the Healthy Communities Capacity Building Fund will soon be available for eligible local governments to apply for Phase-2 grants to develop local policies and actions that will help residents lead healthier lives.
“Creating healthier communities is a key component of encouraging healthy lifestyles and preventing chronic diseases,” said Lake. “This funding will help continue the great work already started with Phase 1 of this program. By helping local communities implement their own policies to support health and well-being, we can make a difference in the day-to-day lives of British Columbians.”
The Healthy Communities Capacity Building Fund was first announced in March 2013, with initial funding of $200,000. Due to the popularity of the program and quality of grant applications, that amount was increased to $275,000. Application forms and criteria for Phase-2 grants will be available online at the BC Healthy Communities Society’s new website for local governments, PlanH, starting Nov. 26, 2013. The total funding for both phases of the Healthy Community Capacity Building Fund is $650,000.
“It is important that the healthy choice is the easier choice for British Columbians,” said Michelle Stilwell, Parliamentary Secretary for Healthy Living. “Communities that support healthy living make it easier for families to make healthy choices every day at home and where they work, learn and play.”
As an example of the type of work occurring in communities across B.C. as part of Phase 1, the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen received a grant to fund the inaugural Okanagan-Similkameen Healthy Living Coalition Forum in Osoyoos. The forum had over 90 participants from municipal and regional governments, electoral areas, health authorities, the education sector and First Nations communities, who worked to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, as well as the next steps for an analysis of current healthy living programs, services and policies.
“As part of our commitment to support leadership for healthier communities, we are pleased to partner with the Government of British Columbia to launch Phase 2 of this local government grant program,” said Jodi Mucha, executive director, BC Healthy Communities Society. “These grants are an important way that local governments can collaborate with partners and learn from each other, as well as plan for and encourage the conditions that support healthier communities for all.”
The grants are intended to assist local government with expenses related to hosting or participating in forums, workshops, dialogues or learning events that support the development of healthy community partnerships, policies and actions. Key focus areas for activities funded through these grants include building local relationships and community partnerships, increasing physical activity, increasing healthy eating and food security, reducing tobacco use and exposure, and implementing healthy community design.
Creating healthier communities is a key component of Healthy Families BC, the Province’s strategy to provide British Columbians with the tools and supports needed to live healthier lives.