Minister impressed with work of Airdrie community organizations
By: Matt Durnan
| Posted: Thursday, Jun 19, 2014 10:18 am
Alberta Minister of Human Services Manmeet Bhullar paid a visit to Airdrie on June 13 to tour the city’s community support facilities.
During his tour, the minister visited the Airdrie Food Bank, Community Links, and the Airdrie Boys and Girls Club and spoke highly of the service levels and people involved with support programs in Airdrie.
“There is a great leadership group here and a lot of community spirit” said Bhullar.
“The leaders are really making things happen, I got to check out the new food bank building and the fact that they will be debt free on that building within a year is amazing.”
Mayor Peter Brown accompanied Bhullar on his tour, commending the minister on his dedication to working with communities across the province on social issues.
“He (Bhullar) spent nearly three hours touring Airdrie, he wanted to see first-hand the challenges that we face on a day-to-day basis,” said Brown. “In the last eight years, Airdrie’s population has grown 56 per cent and in the last five years, there has been a 56 per cent growth in domestic violence.”
Bhullar made note of Brown’s comments, while pointing out that communities all over Alberta are faced with similar challenges.
“There is a surge of growth all over this province, and while that comes with an increase in opportunities, you also see a relative increase in social issues,” said Bhullar. “Many cities are growing by double-digit population percentages and there is always going to be a need for more funding but it goes beyond just money; there are currently 8,000 kids in care (Child Services) across Alberta and I believe they should all have mentors, and that’s where organizations like these here in Airdrie come into play, we need to have more places like Airdrie with a strong team of volunteers looking out for these kids.”
Last year, the provincial government invested $4 million into women’s shelters around the province, as well as $2 million to assisting victims of sexual abuse.
“Funding from the Province plays an integral part in how these organizations in our communities and operate,” said Brown.
“The City and the Province need to work collaboratively with these organizations to make sure we’re getting the most out of our funding and not duplicating work.”
Bhullar said he believes Airdrie’s community services organizations are in good hands and have a strong leadership group to tackle the city’s growth challenges.
Airdrie had a base of $650,000 for 2014 Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) funding, 80 per cent ($520,000) of that funding comes from provincial grant money.