Will the Town of Port McNeill agree to make an annual contribution to Kids in Motion?
At their regular council meeting Nov. 20, Kids in Motion representatives Falyn Lynch and Kirie McMurchy gave a presentation regarding the non-profit society’s accomplishments over the past year and their direction for the future.
“We came here tonight to talk about what we’ve done in our first year and where we are headed,” said McMurchy, adding Kids in Motion won non-profit of the year at the Port McNeill Chamber Awards.
McMurchy then broke down the statistics for the play centre (1,600+ people have visited the play centre in the past year), before requesting an annual contribution and showing what exactly the money would go towards:
$2,500 – to create 100 subsidized workshop spaces for low income families or children;
$5,000 – to reduce play centre drop-in fees by half;
$7,500 – to reduce summer camp fees by half;
$12,000 – to make play centre free for all; or
$35,000 – to create employment by hiring full-time employees for the makerspace and toy library, increasing public access to the space through greater open hours and lower fees.
“The feedback we are getting is we are providing employment to Port McNeill, we’re providing volunteer opportunities, and we’re an attraction to the community – just today I heard a family from Port Hardy say they are in the process of moving to Port McNeill because there is so much for kids here,” said McMurchy.
Lynch added the makerspace did a soft opening in November, which “brought in $1,840, and almost $800 of that was paid back to the instructors.”
The play centre also celebrated it’s one year anniversary on the same day, and “we could not believe the turn out… people were so involved,” said Lynch, adding the makerspace was also a huge hit, with people staying for hours to see all the different stations they had to offer.
“That being said, in order to keep it running, we need to pay for it, and we need to hopefully have some employees that will not only take care of it, but make sure it is running properly,” stated Lynch. “Our ideal would be to employ one full time and a couple part time employees. We want to be open on evenings, weekends, and during the day. We want parents and kids to come in all the time.”
Lynch continued, saying Kids in Motion is hoping “that there is potential for some funding from the town, as we do consider these recreation centres and most other municipalities do give funding, or have a recreation program of their own — we think we’ve proven this is something the community wants, it’s sustainable, and a ton of people want to be involved in it. We would really like some help, we’ve raised lots of money in donations, grants, and we want to see some subsidization from the town.”
“I love what you’re doing personally,” said Coun. Graham MacDonald.
Port McNeill Mayor Shirley Auckland said she was pleased that people were able to buy punch cards to help out families who can’t afford it, as “some families are challenged, and that’s expensive for them. I think it’s brilliant what you’ve got listed here.”
Coun. Shelley Downey asked if Kids in Motion are “sustainable as you are?”
“The play centre is sustainable as is with some fundraising,” said Lynch, adding that in order for the makerspace to continue to grow equipment-wise and find instructors, they will need contributions from the town to help.
Ackland said the request for an annual contribution will most likely be moved to budget discussions in the near future.