Local governments in BC now have more resources available to help them build healthier communities.
An additional $375,000 for the second phase of the Healthy Communities Capacity Building Fund grant program was announced by Health Minister Terry Lake on September 18, 2013. The new funds will help eligible local governments develop skills, policies, partnerships, and actions that contribute to healthier communities.
The fund was 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. The total funding for both phases of the Healthy Community Capacity Building Fund is $650,000.
These funds will support local governments to undertake learning, skills development, relationship building, partnership development, priority setting, and planning.
Grant application guidelines, eligiblilty criteria, and application forms will be availible on November 26, 2013.
The overarching goal of the grants is to increase capacity at the local government level to create environments that enable people to live healthier lives. The program supports local government learning about the community context for health, partnership development between sectors, and collaborative priority setting and action for health in local planning and policy.
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.”
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.