By Jenn Watt
April 26 2016
Four local organizations have received a collective $753600 in Ontario Trillium Foundation grants to fund community projects.
Sums and project descriptions were released earlier this month with the Haliburton Curling Club Community Living Haliburton County Kinark Outdoor Centre and the Rails End Gallery (through the Haliburton Highlands Guild of Fine Arts) each receiving money.
The Rails End Gallery received $50100 to improve the functionality of the art space which is housed in a 1878 rail station. Curator Laurie Jones says the money will allow staff and volunteers to do their work more effectively through renovations to the multi-purpose area lighting kitchen insulation and exterior repairs.
“It’s 75 square feet that we’re making more useful. The way it is now it’s not appropriate for a public art gallery” Jones says noting that the space currently stores art but also houses a sink and small kitchenette.
While most of the renovations won’t be visible to the public one thing they might notice is work to be done on the floor of the main gallery.
“There’s large cracks between the boards. … that’s a trip hazard for people not to mention you could lose your keys through [the gaps]” she says. Jones actually dropped her wedding ring through one of the spaces between boards during a drum circle once. While she was able to retrieve it in the basement the situation is less than ideal.
“We worked with a local woodworker Keith Rydberg came up with this fabulous idea to chink it with wood” she says. “It’s a very hands-on laborious thing but you only have to do it once. … We did it a few years ago so we know it’s a good solution.”
The Rails End Gallery’s building is owned by the Municipality of Dysart et al but the interior is the responsibility of the gallery itself which receives municipal funding donations and generates income through events such as the Arts and Crafts Festival.
Community Living Haliburton County was another recipient of Trillium funding being granted $29700 over 11 months to develop a plan for making classroom and outdoor space into interactive children’s space.
The seed grant will allow Community Living to hire a consultant to create a plan for the classroom space and property at 73 Victoria St. in Haliburton (the former Victoria Street School).
“We’re trying to always maximize the potential that the school has and the green space” Community Living executive director Teresa Jordan says.
She expects the plan to be completed in the next six months or so. While the concept obviously hasn’t yet been fleshed out one of the thoughts is to borrow interactive displays that can be used by the public during evenings and weekends and to better use the large lawn area on which the building sits.
The Haliburton Curling Club was granted $150000 over four months for new ice maintenance equipment which will improve the playing surface and save energy. More details about the equipment will be coming out at a later date curling club president Mary Hillaby said.
The largest grant this year went to the Kinark Outdoor Centre which is just outside of Minden. They will be given $523800 over 30 months to deliver training to parents of children with special needs alongside respite opportunities. Over the three-year period of the grant about 600 people will benefit.
The project is a joint effort between Kinark Child and Family Services Point in Time Centre for Children Youth and Parents and Tri-County Community Support Services said program director Jane Isbister from Kinark.
This Trillium grant is classified as a “grow” grant meaning there is a research component to it.
“We wanted to look at the impact of respite” said Isbister noting that there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that giving families respite services alongside clinical programs is valuable but that this program will allow for data to be collected in a more structured fashion.
“One of the documented benefits of respite is the increased ability to care for children with special needs. We want to show that when respite is provided in conjunction with parent training outcomes for children and youth are improved as the benefits of such training are optimized” the application from the three organizations to Trillium reads.
Programming will likely start up this fall with Point in Time taking the lead on intake Kinark hosting the training at the outdoor centre and Tri-County delivering the parent training.
Isbister said as the program nears more details will be released about how families with children with special needs can access the training.