Funding restored

Thirty-five thousand dollars in funding has been restored to the region’s literacy organization, Building Learning Together.

The announcement came Monday by Education Minister Don McRae at a conference in Vancouver, stating the government would provide the provincial literacy organization Decoda with a $1 million grant, allowing it to reinstate previously- promised funds to 55 B.C. communities.

“I’m very thrilled to see that the government is acknowledging the significance of literacy and learning in our province,” said Community Literacy Coordinator Deborah Davenport. “I’m a happy girl.”

The NEWS reported last Thursday that BLT was told in January it would not be receiving any funds from Decoda this year. BLT was planning to eliminate a number of local services related to literacy this June, including the Learning Technology Centre at the new Family Place and the BLT2Go Outreach Bus. Those programs will now run as planned.

For three years the Ministry of Education has funded Decoda, created to support Vancouver’s bid for the Olympics. With $2.5 million, the organization was able to send out $35,000 to B.C. communities to fund a literacy outreach coordinator. The Ministry reduced that funding to $1 million last year, and Decoda added $1.5 million from its reserves to address the shortfall. This year Decoda announced it would not be able to make up the shortfall.

The $1 million grant announced Monday brings total grant funding from the provincial government to Decoda to $2.5 million in 2012-13, including $500,000 provided in September for the Raise-A-Reader campaign. Davenport said she thinks the change-in-heart from the government to provide Decoda with the funds was due to a  a collective effort from literacy advocates.

“I think there was huge mobilization throughout the province from the community literacy coordinators in each district sending letters, and mobilizing communities to advocate the need for this type of work,” said Davenport. “And I think we were listened to as a collective group.”

BLT still has its funding battles to face, such as finding money to support staffing at places like the new Munchkinland Exploration Centre. But BLT has been creative in the past, Davenport said, and with this huge burden off its shoulders, the possibilities are looking much brighter.



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