BC Sport Participation Program — Provincial and Community Sport Program Development Funds open

May 15, 2023

May 15, 2023, Vancouver, BC – The BC Sport Participation Program (BCSPP) grants are now open until June 15, 2023. These grants, comprised of the Provincial and Community Development Funds, support programs that attract children, youth, Indigenous and under-represented populations to lead active and healthy lifestyles.

With a goal to advance sport access for all, these grants strengthen programming and/or partnerships throughout the province that increase sport participation by introducing sport to new participants, teach physical literacy and fundamental sport skills and/or reduce barriers to those that are under-represented in sport.

The BCSPP is supported through equal joint contributions from the Province of BC and the Government of Canada and administered through viaSport British Columbia.

“It’s important that individuals from all walks of life are able to experience the benefits of sport,” says Charlene Krepiakevich, CEO of viaSport British Columbia. “Improving access to inclusive and safe sport opportunities province-wide enables participants to grow, develop their skills, and strengthen their sense of community.”

With total funding available of $150,000 for the Community fund and $400,000 for the Provincial fund, BCSPP’s aim is to reach populations near and far: grants from the fund are available to isolated rural communities where sport opportunities are fewer, as well as large urban populations where low sport participation exists. Programming may also be offered exclusively to under-represented populations, or to the community as a whole.

“Participating in sport helps people lead healthy and happy lives,” says Lana Popham, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “Sport brings people together, inspires athletes to build connections and contributes to thriving communities. Everyone should have a chance to play, so it’s exciting to expand opportunities for everyone in B.C. regardless of their background, abilities or where they live.”


Nanaimo Hornets Rugby Football Club community outreach

In an effort to introduce physical activity and sport in schools, the Nanaimo Hornets Rugby Football Club adopted a multi-sport approach. With rugby, track and skipping on the roster, they were excited to give school-aged participants the competence, confidence and motivation to be active for life.

As recipients of the BCSPP Community Sport Development Fund, the organization utilized their $3,000 in grant funding to engage in school outreach, recruit and train coaches, invest in equipment, and create low-barrier opportunities for children to be active.

The school-based program was designed in anticipation of up to 40 participants — in reality, the registration numbers skyrocketed to over double at 90 registrations.

“We were forced to scramble in order to recruit and train additional coaches,” says Nick Scott, President of the Nanaimo Hornets Rugby Football Club. “We were successful in connecting with Vancouver Island University Kinesiology and other departments, resulting in an additional 10 coaches. They all brought great energy and leadership to the program.”

The club-based program also grew dramatically. With little to no promotion other than word of mouth, the program grew from 65 to 90 participants as well.

Beyond impressive numbers, the Nanaimo Hornets Rugby Football Club recounts some heartwarming moments. “When distributing the cleats to the Bayview School kids, it turned out that almost every child kept the box that the boots arrived in,” says Nick Scott. “Most of these kids carefully replaced their cleats back in the box after each session. Meanwhile some kids even wore the cleats while walking home, even though they were told not to — they were so proud of their colourful footwear that identified them as athletes.”


Fusion Spirit Foundation – multi-regional eight-week lacrosse programs

Fusion Spirit Foundation had a mission: bring lacrosse to Indigenous youth in various regions in B.C.

By running four lacrosse programs — two in the Lower Mainland and two on reserves in Kamloops — the organization strived to introduce sport and reduce barriers for Indigenous youth athletes.

“This project brought about many children wanting to learn more about lacrosse through the upcoming summer camps, as well as through their local minor lacrosse associations,” says Karen von Hollen, Director of Operations for Fusion Spirit Foundation. “We have several kids wanting to learn more about their culture, local food and medicine sourcing traditions, as well as drum making.”

Fusion Spirit Foundation reported many families staying with their participating child for the Kamloops sessions to learn more about the traditions and cultural aspects of their area and heritage.

In the Lower Mainland, this program also resulted in a commitment to revitalize the lacrosse outdoor box arena, a facility improvement that will open doors for access to more participants in the future.  

“We were also able to help connect the Tseil-Waututh Nation to a company who donated helmets to help with their drive to create weekly, consistent lacrosse programming for youth in their community,” reports Karen von Hollen. “We are working and helping the community get to a position where they can have a sustainable program with trained coaches and volunteers who see its value.”

To learn more about the Provincial Sport Development fund and apply, click here.

To learn more about the Community Sport Development fund and apply, click here.