A neighbourhood isn't just a place. It's a group of people who call that place home. And because they share a home, they also share a connection to one another. The Neighbourhood Small Grants program was created to make those connections stronger.
Funded by the Vancouver Foundation, the program operates in communities throughout the Lower Mainland. In Richmond, it's proudly administered by RCRG.
Here's how it works. Every year, we distribute grants of up to $500 so individuals can complete small community projects, from block parties to urban gardens. And while the projects we fund are diverse, they all have the same goal: to strengthen connections between neighbours. At the end of the year, we invite all grant recipients to a special celebration, where they can each talk about their project and how it helped bring their neighbourhood together.
The COVID-19 crisis has disrupted so many aspects of community life, including the way we interact with one another. Physical distancing guidelines are in place to keep us safe, but they also mean that social gatherings, from cultural celebrations to block parties, can no longer happen in person.
We're living through a unique time, and we have to find new ways to forge connections and mitigate social isolation. That's where Responsive Neighbourhood Small Grants come in.
This new funding stream is available to all Richmond residents, who can apply for up to $500 to carry out out a community project. Whereas, in the past, projects could take on any form, so long as they were inclusive and brought neighbours together, our new reality requires new limitations, but also presents new opportunities to showcase your creativity.
Responsive NSG projects must adhere to physical distancing guidelines. This means they can only be carried out by individuals or family members from the same household, and must take place as close as possible to your own home.
Those are the restrictions, but from there, your creativity comes into play.
The program has two goals: to ease the social isolation of vulnerable people, and to facilitate the online exchange and sharing of local assets, skills, and resources.
So what types of projects might this entail? Well, you could distribute care packages to seniors in your neighbourhood, or organize an online workshop, focusing on storytelling, or cooking, or meditation, or yoga. Like we said, you can be creative!
The application period is ongoing. Funding will be available until COVID-19 is behind us, and we're once again ready to build community together, face to face.