Town comes to rescue of money-losing centre

Mayor says youth centre ‘provides essential service’

Children enjoy games at the Heartland Youth Centre

Strapped with a projected $52,900 budget deficit this year, Heartland Youth Centre in Stettler has gained more financial support from the Town of Stettler.

At its regular meeting last week, council committed $40,000 to the youth centre, which presented its budget for 2013.

“This council is committed to funding the HYC,” said Stettler Mayor Dick Richards.

“I believe your organization provides an essential service to the community.”

Last year, the town contributed $35,500, after providing $7,500 in 2011.

“I’m a huge proponent of the HYC,” said Coun. Leona Thorogood, who lauded the organization for allocating reserve funding for such deficit situations.

HYC executive members remain optimistic that the centre will run as scheduled, despite the financial hardships.

“We are confident we can operate without shutting any programs down,” said past-treasurer Steve Davies, who addressed council with current treasurer Pauline Christian and director Dave Wood.

With expenses of $268,400, HYC has calculated just $215,500 in revenue and funding and other fundraising initiatives, such as the major Awesome Auction.

“We have some excellent fundraising,” Davies said.

Early last year, town council assured HYC of more funding to help offset the shortfall that resulted from losing about $25,000 from the Stettler and District Family and Community Services.

For the previous few years, the town had contributed $7,500 each year.

Even with that shortfall, HYC has budgeted $117,500 in fundraising, which includes donations, Bowl for Kids, Awesome Auction, special events, and a Community Spirit grant.

HYC has also allocated further revenue from program fees for $20,000, United Way for $18,000, Boys and Girls Clubs grants of $9,000, a Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP) grant of $8,900, and rentals for $2,100.

HYC is also scheduled to add to its coffers from volunteer service at a casino this fall, with the revenue expected in late 2013.

Expenses include personnel for $202,875, administration for $36,325 and $29,200 for programs.

Heartland Youth Centre provides various programs for youths from Stettler and district. Last year, the centre recorded 6,532 individual visits, though that number was down from 6,890 in 2011 and 6,752 in 2010.

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