Brampton’s Mayor Patrick Brown has welcomed an announcement of $175,000 in financial support from the federal government for community sport activities to 25 local organizations in the city.
National-level organizations that are receiving funding through the Community Sport for All Initiative are distributing the money.
“I welcome the federal announcement to help underrepresented groups get involved in sports. I think sports is a preventative health care. It is encouraging healthy, active lifestyles, and at a time when we have rising rates of childhood obesity,” Brown told CBC Toronto.
“…If there [are] young girls in our community that may not be able to afford a soccer league or equipment [and] are now going to be able to play, that’s a beautiful investment.”
Minister of Sport Pascale St-Onge made the announcement during a visit Saturday with Brams United Girls Soccer Club, one of the community organizations receiving funding from ParticipACTION.
St-Onge heard about the tremendous work the non-profit organization does to empower girls through the sport of soccer, helping them build self-confidence in a positive environment while providing a place to make friends, stay active and have fun.
“Support for community sport reinforces the government of Canada’s commitment to building stronger and healthier communities,” St-Onge said.
“Sport plays an important role in building self-esteem and leadership skills, which allow people to grow and thrive physically, emotionally and socially. It should be accessible to all. Everyone deserves the opportunity to take part in sport and physical activity.”
Cathy Senior, club president, Brams United Soccer Club, said the Community Sport for All Initiative is helping community organizations provide opportunities for youth to participate and stay active in an environment that is safe, welcoming, and inclusive.
“We are grateful for this funding, which helps our club continue to provide equitable soccer and physical literacy programs in Brampton,” Senior said.
‘A fantastic opportunity for our communities’
Michael Gyovai, a volunteer with Brampton Sports Alliance, and Desmond Gardner, manager of recreation coaching for Brampton Soccer Club, both welcome the funding.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for our communities, especially our vulnerable community and marginalized community, and being able to get our kids out of the house, back into sport,” Gyovai told CBC Toronto.
“We’ve seen … the last few years with COVID, prolonged isolation, and knowing that kids can get active and learn the life skills of sport can provide this amazing opportunity for our children, youth and families.”
For his part, Gardner said the initiative is “great.”
“I think that it’s something that’s possibly overdue … We’ve been trying to work with a range of different families from a range of different diverse communities and really trying to run the best programs that we can and to introduce them to the game. At times it can be very challenging.”
‘Sports is for everyone,’ mayor says
While noting that “sports is for everyone,” Brown said “it’s wonderful that … underrepresented groups that may face financial barriers will now be able to participate in sports.”
“I appreciate this federal initiative and I hope [if there are] individuals, residents in Brampton, young residents who have never been able to afford team sports, that [they] will now be able to participate and fall in love with the sport of their choice.”
The federal government says sport activities organized by the funded groups working at the community level — ranging from athletics and volleyball to Special Olympics and cricket — will help reduce barriers that hinder participation in sport, particularly in Black, Indigenous and racialized communities or among 2SLGBTQI+ groups, people with low incomes, newcomers and persons with disabilities.