There was a special meeting of North Grenville’s Council held on November 14 for Council to hear delegations from community members and groups seeking Community Grant funding. These annual presentations are typically given over two or three evenings, with funding distribution decisions made and announced at a later date.
The November 14 presentations included one from Nancy Grundy from Eastern Ontario Quilt Documentation, separate presentations from Paul Rochon and Steve Wendt on behalf of North Grenville Community Theatre, two presentations from Lisa Poushinsky regarding Kemptville Street Piano activities, and more. The delegations took nearly two hours in total. Each presenter made a funding request and discussed how the funding would be used in a way that benefited the community.
In a delegation from artist Jennifer Gow, she explained the premise behind her proposed “Friday Drawing Circle” which she sees as a great idea that could help the mental health of all those who participate, whether young, elderly, or somewhere in the middle. Council politely questioned the grant amount requested, and Jennifer – with the help of a friend – explained some of the expenses that the money would cover. Council members asked about the feasibility of charging a fee to attend the Friday Drawing Circle, or asking for donations. More discussion ensued.
As part of his pitch for funding, Paul Rochon of NGCT discussed the significant benefits enjoyed by many North Grenville businesses on theatre nights, including theatre-goers filling up local hotel rooms and patronizing local restaurants before or after the show.
The final presentation of the evening came from RNJ Youth Services, which has locations in Brockville and Smiths Falls, and serves the Leeds-Grenville area. Rachel Burns provided the presentation, discussing the non-profit’s programming which addresses issues such as bullying and cyberbullying, healthy relationships, and anger management.
Rachel provided a disturbing example that highlights the need for more local programming. She explained that a North Grenville high school student with a disability was recently filmed using the washroom by peers, and the video was distributed online. Rachel says that the perpetrators believed it was funny, and did not realize the impact their actions had on the victim, nor that their behaviour was unlawful. RNJ Youth Services receives referrals from police to work with perpetrators of such behaviour, and Rachel explained that 95% of referrals are sexual in nature.
On November 16, a closed session meeting took place, followed by a second special open session meeting later in the same evening to hear the remaining Community Grant delegations. These presentations included one from Jessica Beairsto of the Kemptville Minor Football Club, one from Dwayne Dowdell (father of young Disc Golf champion Brock Dowdell) on behalf of the Kemptville Disc Golf Club, and more.
Local musician Herb Cloutier provided a presentation regarding an initiative called Music Instrument Lending Library Kemptville (MILLK), an idea borrowed from some other locales aimed at helping people develop their skills in music and the arts. As part of his presentation, Herb stressed the benefits of music in many aspects of life, including general learning and mental health. If the grant money is received, MILLK is hoping for it to be a “one time ask”, rather than returning annually for a Community Grant Program request, as many organizations do.
A $2,000 grant request was made by Chris Churchill on behalf of the RCSCC 338 Defiant Navy League of Canada, Kemptville Branch. The funding would help the Cadets program, and the presentation was met with plenty of enthusiasm.
Finally, a request for $2,970 came in from “big baNG”, a drumming credit course that takes place after hours at North Grenville District High School. The one time funding request would be used for drum repair and replacement, if granted.
The applications will be deliberated and funding granted in the coming months.