Older photo of Stettler and District Handibus. (Contributed photo)

Older photo of Stettler and District Handibus. (Contributed photo)

Stettler non-profit groups make budget requests to council

The Stettler and District Handibus Society and the Heartland Youth Centre were represented

Stettler town council received a pair of delegations during the Nov. 23 meeting.

The first contingent was from the Stettler & District Handibus Society, to present their 2022 budget.

“For the first time ever, since I’ve been on the board, we have a surplus,” said board chair Cindy MacDonell.

The anticipated surplus is thanks to the Medically At-Risk Driver (MARD) grant, a $20,000 grant designed to help provide alternative transportation for seniors in rural areas.

Because of the grant, the surplus projected in 2022 is expected to be just over $9,300, however since the grant is essentially one-time use, it is not a stable source of funding.

“We’re beating the bushes for other outside funding,” said MacDonell.

Other sources of funding for the handibus include $20,000 in County of Stettler funding, around $9,000 in donations from Superfluity Thrift store, and the town, which has been contributing $25,000 a year to the organization since 2018.

MacDonell noted that with escalating costs everywhere, the decision was made to maintain rider fees where they are so as not to contribute to the rising costs, a move applauded by council.

“With the way things are heading, what you guys do is so important,” said Mayor Sean Nolls.

“Thanks for everything you do.”

The second delegation to present was a five-person contingent from the Heartland Youth Centre, also presenting their 2022 budget.

Despite complications brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the youth centre is back to operating all their programs, with some restrictions.

Programs offered through the centre include the Boys and Girls Club, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Stettler, and other mentorship programs for youth from ages six to 18.

Another program the centre has begun offering is called Rainbows, a support program for youth who have suffered major loss or transition.

“A lot of our families are going through a lot of different types of stress,” said executive director Winnie Bissett.

“There’s crisis, and a mental toll coming from the pandemic.”

With the staff working closely with the youth and the families, they are often the ones the kids come to when dealing with stress.

Another source of stress directly related to the Centre is financial.

The centre does fundraise and operate through a variety of grants, however the Town also provides some consistent funding every year.

“Having some consistent funding is a big weight off,” said Bissett.

The Town has provided $50,000 per year to the centre since 2019.

“You’re one of the reasons that makes Stettler an awesome community,” said Nolls.

“I love what you guys do, we love what you guys do. Thank you.”

Council accepted both delegations presentations as information, then moved ahead with administration’s recommendation to grant both organizations the requested funding amounts.

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