First Winnipeg Wellness grants announced

First Winnipeg Wellness grants announced

From left: River Heights-Fort Garry city councillor John Orlikow, and volunteers at the community rink at Sir William Osler Park, including Karen Windatt, Greg Mitchell, Jim Hrabiuk, Colin Smith and Tom Hayward.

As I told you back in December, I’m so proud that city council has made Winnipeg Wellness grants available to ensure that we are all able to support one another during this challenging time of change, isolation and heightened stress for so many.

Approved as part of the 2021 budget, the $600,000 Winnipeg Wellness grant will provide funding of up to $40,000 per ward to support community-driven ideas that promote community mental health initiatives.

I am thrilled at the interest and creativity we have already seen in the applications that have been submitted. I’m also happy to say that three applications have already been approved. They include:

• $2,000 for the Fort Garry Women’s Resource Centre’s community fun nights – FGWRC is a non-profit organization that supports women in engaging in healthy choices for themselves and their families. They applied for a grant with the goal of offering a free virtual bingo event to women, and a free paint night to women and their families. Dads are welcome to attend the paint nights with their children. They will be using their grant funding to purchase and deliver supplies for paint nights and to have a facilitator lead the session online.

Organizers see these events as supporting the community by providing fun – and free – activities, as many have lost or are living on reduced incomes due to COVID-19.

These events will also offer a safe way to reduce social isolation during this hard time.

• $2,000 for Chabad-Lubavitch of Winnipeg’s Menorah Mobile – As you may have noticed on residential streets of the city during Hanukkah in December, the Menorah Mobile is a truck-mounted menorah that plays festive music and which safely offered menorahs and candles to those who need needed them.

While Hanukkah is over for another year, this funding will reimburse organizers for costs related to construction, truck rental, fuel, sound system and giveaways items such as menorahs, candles and holiday guides.

• $5,000 for Sir Willy’s Winterfest fundraiser – A dedicated group of neighbourhood residents have been creating and maintaining a community hockey and pleasure rink in Sir William Osler Park since 1993, relying on an annual fundraiser on Louis Riel Day to maintain and upgrade equipment, such as the required snowblower and shovels. This year the plan is to perform ongoing maintenance on rink boards and grounds.

As an in-person fundraiser is unlikely this year due to COVID-19, this grant will provide financial support to ensure that families have access to well-maintained rinks to stay active in a safe, socially-distanced way.

We continue to accept and review applications for funds that will be used to promote wellness in our community this winter.

You can find more information and the online application form here.

If you have any questions about the Winnipeg Wellness Grant, please contact me at 204-986-5236 or

Originally published in The Sou’wester here.