Council approves $10,000 grant to Seniors’ Centre for Excellence

KENILWORTH – Wellington North council has approved a $10,000 grant to  the Mapleton-based Seniors’ Centre for Excellence following the centre’s request for funding for its ACE (Active, Connected, Engaged) coordinator position.

In 2021, the municipalities of Minto, Mapleton and Wellington North each provided $10,000 to fund the position, which was created after the centre’s in-person programs were halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic in mid-March of 2020.

The centre moved to virtual programming, including telephone and Zoom video forums to keep seniors connected and engaged. 

The centre was able to secure initial funding to create the position, filled by Drayton resident Glynis Belec, but funding from the municipalities is required to keep it going.

At the Dec. 19 Wellington North meeting, councillor Penny Renken asked if there will be others wanting to tap into the township’s $40,000 grants and donations budget.

Economic development officer Dale Small suggested a grant and donations report in April is likely to show requests exceeding budget. 

“I think we’re going to have probably some tough decisions to make or some budget increases to make,” Small responded.

Councillor Sherry Burke questioned if the township could find another funding source.

“If I had to chose, I’d like to see it not go through community grants and donations, I’d like to find another revenue stream,” she said.

Last year, council funded the position with government COVID relief dollars, but Small suggested council could fund the grant through a “council-initiated project; we’ve done that in the past.” 

Small also noted the community foundation could be a source of partial funding, potentially around $3,000.

“Can we make a recommendation tonight to grant them that amount of money and figure out where its coming from later on?” Renken asked.

Mayor Andy Lennox said the funding source didn’t have to be nailed down right then, but cautioned “we all need to be very aware that this is going to show up in the budget discussions.”

“What we’re doing is we’re agreeing to spend money before we’ve actually created the budget to spend it,” Lennox said. 

“As long as we’re all clear about that, we can figure the other parts of it out, and if Dale has some ideas of how we can maybe defray or spread that cost over other opportunities, I think that’s [a] wonderful idea and I think we certainly would love to pursue that,” the mayor added.

“I think if we approve this, we’re basically committing to spending this for our 2023 budget, and we’ll be giving direction to staff to adjust the budget accordingly and look for other opportunities as well,” he said.

The recommendation to provide the funding was carried by council.

Mapleton council previously approved a request for their portion of the funding request, and Minto council will consider the request during budget deliberations.

— With files from Pat Raftis