The province has announced that the Saskatchewan Veterans Service Club Support Program is now taking grant applications until May 15, 2023.
The program is being delivered collaboratively by the Government of Saskatchewan, Royal Canadian Legion Saskatchewan Command, and Saskatchewan Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans. It was first introduced back in 2019-20 and is designed to support veterans and builds stronger communities, according to the province’s news release Wednesday. The program has since grown, and $1.5 million is being offered this year.
Grants of up to a maximum $30,000 are available for improvement projects, facility repairs and upgrades, operations, special events, programs and activities for registered non-profit organizations, Legion branches and Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans units based in Saskatchewan.
In addition each eligible applicant may apply for up to $2,500 to be directed to club operating costs. Applicants can apply for both project funding and for operations, with the grand total not exceeding $30,000.
Projects must be completed by March 31, 2024, unless otherwise indicated in their approval letter.
This is the first intake of applications; a second intake will run immediately afterwards and have an application deadline of Aug. 31. A third intake could take place after that on a first-come first-served basis.
"Our government wants to thank our veterans' service clubs for their tireless work on behalf of our communities, veterans and their families," said Parks, Culture and Sport Minister Laura Ross in a news release. "Since the program's inception, over $3 million has been allocated to 235 successful projects across the province, and we are proud to continue our support."
In recognition of the opening of applications, a reception was held at the Legislature on Wednesday for ANAVETS guests which was also attended by the government’s military liaison Moose Jaw Wakamow MLA Greg Lawrence, as well Yorkton MLA Greg Ottenbreit.
Royal Canadian Legion Saskatchewan Command ED Chad Wagner and President Carol Pedersen were also in attendance along with the ANAVETS representatives from across the province. Following the reception, Minister Ross introduced them as they sat in the gallery of the Legislature.
At the reception, the veterans shared stories and expressed their appreciation for the funding, which they say will be a lifesaver for their clubs.
"I’d like to bring the deepest appreciation and gratitude from the Royal Canadian Legion for this support from the provincial government." Pedersen said. "It’s very meaningful and our branches are able to flourish as a result of this support. It’s good for our communities, and it’s good for the veteran community; it’s good for Saskatchewan."
She added that with COVID-19 many of their clubs had to shut down during that time. “We had no revenue, no way to pay the bills. It was a very timely creation of this program. Initially it was $100,000 and it has grown to $1.5 million. It’s very substantial, it’s tremendous. It’s definitely meaningful and helpful to our branches."
“One of the things is it brings sustainability to veterans service clubs around the province,” said Wagner. “Most of the funding goes towards maintenance or to upgrades to facilities, so it could be furnaces, floor repairs, roof repairs — all sorts of things that maybe some branches or posts or units aren’t able to create enough funding just from their general revenues.”
"On behalf of the ANAVETS members, staff and directors, I would like to thank the Government of Saskatchewan for their commitment to the veterans of Saskatchewan," said ANAVETS Saskatchewan Provincial Command President Rick Taylor in a statement. "These Grants have benefited us immensely through the enhancements to our units whether it be furnishings, flooring, upgrades or appliances. Thank you."
Application forms are being distributed to all Royal Canadian Legion branches. More information is available by contacting the Royal Canadian Legion Saskatchewan Command at 306-525-8739 or email@example.com.