Grants roll in for area projects

By Jenn Watt
Two area not-for-profits and one municipality are moving forward with community projects after their applications were accepted by the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

The Arts Council ~ Haliburton Highlands secured the largest grant –  $548000 over three years – for the rural performing arts network they have been building since 2009.
The money comes from the provincial Grow Grants.

“The SPARC Network Steering Committee’s (a committee of the Arts Council ~ Haliburton Highlands) mandate at the end of the three years is to create a provincial steering committee for performing arts in rural communities that will carry on after the three year period to create and develop eight performing arts community hubs across rural Ontario and to create an online communication network that connects performing artists around the province” committee chairwoman Chris Lynd wrote in an email to the paper.

More details about the project will be released in the coming weeks.
The municipality of Highlands East also received a sizeable funding injection with $150000 for ice-making equipment for the Wilberforce Curling Club.
“It was aging equipment that definitely needed replaced” says Highlands East chief administrative officer Shannon Hunter.

The curling club has been feeling the effects of aging infrastructure; last week they announced that a brine leak due to 40-year-old pipes had closed the club for the remainder of the season. Hunter said this Trillium grant is not designated for the pipes which will need to be funded another way.
“We have been trying for the better part of two and a half years to fundraise to replace that ice equipment” said club vice-president Darrell McQuigge. The old compressor and ice plant have some parts dating back to the late 1970s he said and needed upgrades.
“It’ll make a big difference” he said.

The third grant from Trillium was awarded to SIRCH Community Services for a pilot program teaching adults how to upcycle and refurbish used furniture.
As executive director Gena Robertson explained upcycling is when one item is reimagined into something new and different. For example an old wooden bed frame can be repurposed into a deacon bench and two paddles or shutters can be adjusted to become a coat rack.
The $74400 grant will go to hiring instructors for the program as well as pay for the space and related costs. The course will run five days a week for 12 weeks starting in March.

“At the end of it … the question that we’re trying to ask is whether this could be a viable business to keep people employed” Robertson said. “It’s a teaching program so they will have a project of their own but we will also be doing projects for sale at the end. That money will go to SIRCH” she said.
Anyone interested in enrolling in the program or who has skills in repurposing and upcycling should get in touch with SIRCH at