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Friday, July 9, 2010

UpStart subsidy program creating new opportunities for Calgary’s youth

In past years, registered recreation in the city has been limited to those groups that could afford to rent community facilities - If you couldn’t afford to pay, you didn’t get to play.

However, thanks to a program called UpStart School Access, that’s no longer the case.

In August of last year, UpStart of the United Way of Calgary partnered with The Province of Alberta and The City of Calgary for a two-year pilot program to offer more programming for Calgary’s children and youth by reducing the cost to rent school gymnasiums.

“We want more children and youth participating in recreation because we believe in the benefits it has on healthy childhood development,” said Keely Willment, School Access Coordinator with The City.

The Alberta government has lowered the cost of gym rentals by more than two-thirds for eligible groups, including non-profit and community organizations.

“In the past, ‘renewal rights’ prevented new groups from being able to access affordable spaces. With this pilot there are now 25 additional spaces that are available for community groups at an affordable rate,” said Willment.

“The hope is that the new spaces will alleviate transportation barriers in those communities.”

The City of Calgary is lending its hand to the initiative by providing much needed staff support.

Non-profit and community organizations can apply for the UpStart subsidy by visiting or by contacting 3-1-1.

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