Buddy Benches, which were part of the neighbourhood small grant program in 2015, were painted by students and parents at Hammond Elementary and were constructed by inmates at Fraser Regional Correctional Centre. (City of Maple Ridge image)

Buddy Benches, which were part of the neighbourhood small grant program in 2015, were painted by students and parents at Hammond Elementary and were constructed by inmates at Fraser Regional Correctional Centre. (City of Maple Ridge image)

Maple Ridge offering grants to groups that ‘ease impact of social distancing’

City opens applications to its neighbourhood small grant program

The City of Maple Ridge is offering $500 grants to residents who undertake a project that can ease the negative impacts of physical distancing.

The city has opened applications to its “Neighbourhood Small Grants – Block Parties & More” program.

The small grant program has historically been a way to connect neighbours and build community, and will operate as such this year.

“We are moving forward and challenging you to use these grants to uplift our spirits and ease the impacts of social distancing by helping our neighbours to strengthen connections in neighbourhoods, real and virtual,” a city announcement states. “Small grants up to $500 will be available for projects.”

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Examples of projects include virtual block parties or picnics, support opportunity for vulnerable community members, online health and wellness sessions, and projects that may involve art workshops, cooking demonstrations, or virtual games nights.

Equipment purchase is not an eligible cost. Regular block party applications will be accepted once the provincial health authorities allow public gatherings.

Grants are available for projects that maintain physical distancing. All ideas and projects must be completed by Nov. 30, 2020.

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Applications are open to any neighbourhood group, group of residents or informal group that are coming together to work on a specific project where the outcome will improve or beautify a specific area, public land, green space, park or any other designated area. The group does not have to be registered as a non-profit organization.

In some circumstances, neighbourhood groups may apply for up to $1,000 in matching funds.

Information on applying for the grants can be found at https://tinyurl.com/ybqv4yg7