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Kids First asks Fort Macleod town council to continue family centre commitment

Fort Macleod Kids First asked town council to honour its commitment of $250,000 toward a new $1.5-million family centre at W.A. Day school.
Council made that commitment last year in connection with a provincial grant program that has since changed.
Kids First director Susan Simpson, board member Tenille McDougall and FCSS director Angie O’Connor appeared as a delegation at council’s regular meeting.
Simpson thanked council for its support for Kids First’s application for an Alberta Community Partnership Program grant.
Kids First applied to the Alberta Partnership grant for $350,000 in the first year and $100,000 in each of the second and third years of the program.
The Town of Fort Macleod agreed to be a municipal partner, offering to provide $125,000 in each of the second and third years of the grant program.
The Town of Granum also signed on as a municipal partner but will not provide any money.
The province had indicated it would match the municipal contribution, which would have given Kids First more than $1-million.
The Alberta Partnership grant program changed after Kids First made its application, due in large part to the number of applications from around Alberta for funding.
Alberta Municipal Affairs will give Kids First a one-time grant of $350,000.
No more money is forthcoming from the grant program, since the second and third years have been scrapped.
Simpson told council the grant brings Kids First’s fund-raising for the family centre to $554,960 — or just over one-third of the $1.5-million goal.
Simpson on April 13 reminded council of its original agreement to provide $250,000 to the centre’s funding.
“We know you’re not obligated to do that, but we’re asking for your continued support,” Simpson said, admitting that commitment has changed with the changes to the grant program.
O’Connor told council Kids First is working hard to raise money on its own.
“It’s not always coming for a hand-out,” O’Connor said. “We’re working madly for funding.”
O’Connor noted Kids First is co-operating with the Fort Macleod Community Initiative Group, which is fund-raising for a new gym at W.A. Day school.
Simpson said if council agreed to provide $250,000 as originally promised it would bring Kids First’s fund-raising to $804,950.
That is more than half-way to the $1.5-million goal.
“What we’re doing here goes beyond Fort Macleod,” Simpson said. “We’re well-recognized throughout the province of Alberta.”
Simpson said as an example McDougall is to become the co-ordinator for a two-year provincial pilot program through the University of Calgary called “Welcome to Parenthood.”
“They chose Fort Macleod because they know how passionate this community is,” Simpson said.
The family center will allow Kids First to unite its many programs, including school breakfast and lunch programs, community and teen cooking program, parenting courses and the Good Food Box, in one location.
The family centre will have a permanent room for the preschool program and a kitchen that can accommodate up to 16 people.
There will also be a gross motor room that will be open year-round where parents can bring their young children for physical activity.
“It is going to happen, because we made a commitment,” Simpson said.
Later in the meeting council referred Kids First’s request to its 2015 budget discussions.

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