Trillium Foundation grant keeps doors open at Belwood Lodge and Camp

WELLINGTON COUNTY – Funds from the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s Resilient Communities Fund are streaming into Wellington County organizations.

In total, 18 organizations have been chosen to receive $1.2 million for objectives ranging from the retraining of staff for delivery of new COVID-appropriate programming to helping with the cost of purchasing PPE.

Belwood Lodge and Camp, a summer camp for those with intellectual disabilities, received $136,000.

“Having this Ontario Trillium Foundation grant has absolutely transformed our summer and allowed us to offer programming that we really never would have been able to offer,” camp director Maddie Rawling told the Advertiser, calling the funds “absolutely fundamental.”

An old storage barn has been turned into a “wonderful program space,” ceiling fans have been added into cabins for air circulation, and pathways have been paved for increased access to outdoor space—to name some of the many improvements.

Traditionally offering overnight accommodation, the camp has adapted to offering virtual and day-only programming.

They’re also offering transportation to campers from Guelph and Kitchener-Waterloo.

New improvements will be on display during the camp’s 75-year anniversary celebration on Aug. 21.

The usual funding streams offered by the Trillium Foundation (seed, grow and capital) weren’t necessarily applicable to the needs of organizations after COVID-19 turned usual plans upside down over the past year.

The newly formed Resilient Communities stream simplifies the application process said foundation vice president Beth Puddicombe.

“This was really to help organizations where they’re at; some are in better shape than others,” Puddicombe said.

Other organizations within Wellington County chosen to receive funds include:

– Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games ($67,100 for PPE and virtual event and training programs);

– Fergus Agricultural Society ($28,000 for cleaning, traffic cones and a stakeholder survey);

– Township of Wellington North ($18,200 for facility renovations);

– Immigrant Services of Guelph-Wellington ($122,300 for expansion of interpretation and translation services into Wellington County);

– Fiddlehead Care Farm ($64,600 for creation of flexible program delivery and increased access to nature-based support);

– Sunrise Therapeutic Riding & Learning Centre ($71,000 for development of inclusive equine-assisted learning);

– Career Education Council Guelph Wellington Dufferin ($131,800 for staffing to develop virtual sponsorship activities, a career exploration portal and data/research design development);

– Drayton Entertainment ($16,200 to digitize programming); and

– Family and Child Services Guelph and Wellington County
($83,500 for volunteer training and video creation for parents).

The foundation is condensing its Resilient Communities funding into a single round instead of two, making around $92 million available for the coming year. The application deadline for 2021-22 funding is Dec. 8, with applications opening by Nov. 10.