Kneehill County council approved a one-time COVID relief grant to rural community halls within the county at the Dec. 14, 2021, council meeting.
COVID-19 and the ongoing gathering restrictions associated with the pandemic have severely impacted community hall rentals in 2020 and 2021.
Many halls have had to cancel annual fundraising events which play a vital role in covering their operating costs.
Kneehill County has an annual Grant Program in the Operating Budget which provides for Community Grants, Youth Sponsorship, Recreation and Culture, Rural Community Halls, and Scholarships.
As there have been fewer requests for sponsorships and grants due to the pandemic, much of this account remains unspent in 2021.
At the Committee of the Whole meeting held on Tues. Dec. 7, the committee discussed and recommended to council that surplus funds available in the Grant Program ($58,780) be used to provide the one-time grant.
Nine rural community halls will benefit from this grant, as listed in Community Hall Policy 15-13.
The amount of funding each hall receives will be determined based on their 2019 rentals (prior to COVID-19).
Level A Funding will give $5000 to seven halls for a total of $35,000.
Level C Funding at $1650 will be given for two halls
The funding comes from the operating budget at $38,300 total.
Each hall will be accountable with a report back to council detailing how the money was spent.
“Rural Halls play a vital role in our communities,” said Deputy Reeve Ken King. “It’s council’s hope that this grant will help them keep the lights on, keep them operating until we can all safely gather again.”